Gum disease (gingivitis) or periodontal disease is a bacterial infection caused by accumulation of dental plaque and tartar on the teeth. It is a disease that affects the gums and bone around a tooth. Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis and if left untreated can develop into periodontitis. Eventually, teeth affected by gum disease or periodontitis can present with a sharp pain, a dull ache, an abscess or they become loose and may need to be extracted.

Treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease involves cleaning the tooth root surface with special instruments. This is usually done with local anaesthetic to avoid discomfort.