If plaque and tartar is left on the teeth, it provides the right conditions for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria irritate the gums, which means that they bleed more easily. You may notice this if you are brushing your teeth, or eating, and sometimes your gums may bleed a bit. This is the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis. As the disease progresses, usually silently, your body fights and responds to the bacteria in the gums with inflammation. This chronic inflammation damages the bone which supports your teeth, resulting in periodontitis.
If you have gingivitis or periodontitis, your dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth by scaling and polishing them. They may also recommend an antiseptic mouthwash and antibiotics. They will show you how to brush and floss and use interdental oral hygiene aids more effectively. The scaling and root planning procedure should not be an unpleasant experience for you. Local anesthesia (“novocaine”) is utilized, and rarely are pain medications. Most adults have some degree of gum disease.