​Gum disease (Gingivitis and Periodontitis)​

Gum disease describes cases where the tissue and the bones that surround and support your teeth become infected. This is generally cause by the build-up of plaque (a sticky, colourless film) on your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria and toxins, and if it is not removed by daily brushing and cleaning, it can infect your teeth and gums. If gum disease progresses further, these bacteria can eventually infect your gum tissue and the bone that support your teeth.  

Gum disease can be divided into two types:

  • Gingivitis: this is often considered the earliest stage of gum disease and is a comparatively milder form of gum disease which causes your gums and the soft tissue that surround your teeth to become irritated, red and swollen (inflammation).

  • Periodontitis: this is a more severe form of gum disease. It spreads from the gums and causes damage to the tissue and bone that support your teeth.  

Gingivitis is usually easy to treat and does not have any long-lasting consequences.  However, most cases of periodontitis are preceded by untreated gingivitis. This is more severe and has the potential of causing extensive permanent damage. It is not necessary that all cases of gingivitis will progress to periodontitis; but if it does it can cause your teeth to become loose, fall out, or become damaged to the extent that they will need to be removed by your dentist.  

The medical staff of Teeth and Skin Service Line at The Aga Khan University and Hospital are internationally trained and committed to providing excellent treatment and care, for your gum disease.​

Although gum disease can happen to anyone at any age, it is most common amongst adults. Gingivitis is not always easy to detect as it may not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, it may progress to a stage where there are noticeable indicators of gum disease or to periodontitis. 

If you believe you may be suffering from a gum disease, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Tender, puffy, swollen and red gums

  • Gums that bleed easily while brushing and cleaning 

  • Elongated teeth (caused by receding gums) 

  • Pockets in your gums (because your gums have separated or pulled away from your teeth)

  • Teeth fit together differently because they have shifted 

  • Pus coming out from between your teeth and gums 

  • Persistent bad taste in your mouth

  • Bad breath that is unresolved with oral hygiene practices

  • Loose teeth​

If you notice any of the signs or symptoms associated with gum disease, such as pain, swollen or red gums, or gums that bleed easily, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist so that he or she may diagnose and suggest treatment for your complaint. The sooner you receive treatment for gingivitis, the fewer the chances that it will progress into periodontitis and cause extensive damage.   You can consult the medical specialists working with the Teeth and Skin Service Line at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, the only internationally accredited hospital of Pakistan. ​

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started. ​

Gingivitis is usually diagnosed based on the symptoms that you will describe. The dentist will then examine your mouth, teeth and gums to look for any signs of gum disease. Early indicators will include a build-up of plaque on your teeth, as well a swollen and red gums that bleed easily. They may also look for other symptoms that indicate a more severe case of gum disease (periodontitis), such as teeth movement, gum pockets, or breakdown of the bone that surround your teeth.  Based on these observations, your dentist will be able to diagnose and assess the severity of your dental complaint, and suggest treatment accordingly. ​

If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, there are a number of treatment options available to you depending on the severity of your diagnosis and the extent of damage that it may have caused. Mild cases of gum disease can usually be treated by practicing and maintaining good oral hygiene, and the effects of gingivitis are usually reversible. You can get your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist, where they will thoroughly clean and remove any hardened plaque that has formed. Your dentist may perform scaling and ‘root planing’, which is deep cleaning done under a local anaesthetic to remove plaque and tartar from above and below your gum line. These will help to reduce the swelling and the depth of gum pockets that may have formed, and to heal any infection. 

The dentist will also be able to give you advice on how to clean your teeth properly at home, in order to prevent a build-up gum disease or a build-up of plaque again in the future. 

If your ailment is more serious, you will need more extensive treatment. This could involve surgery to restore supporting tissues, to fix the alignment of your teeth, or to remove any teeth that are irreparable. 

The Teeth and Skin Service Line at the Aga Khan University and Hospital, Karachi can provide you multidisciplinary medical care under one roof.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage​.



The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.