Gum Disease and my Dad's teeth

Extract from: "The 4 Secrets Your Dentist Never Told You" by Garry Bonsall 

  • Basel English Dentist Dr Garry Bonsall

                                                                              Mum and Dad on their Wedding Day           

My father came home that summer evening, totally angry!  A third dentist had now told dad, then aged 49, that he must have all his teeth extracted. He had periodontal disease, gum disease, they said. Father had always gone regularly to his local, friendly dentist. His dental practice was near our home. Dad believed he could prevent dental problems and tooth loss with regular checks. But one day, his dentist suddenly wanted to pull out all my father´s teeth. Dad sought second opinions but, alas! it was the same bad news. He was angry, upset and clearly not satisfied. His trusted dentist had failed to prevent gum disease. Dad had tried to care for his teeth, but was now going to end up losing them all and wear dentures. 

I have calculated that his gum disease must have started around the age of 30. He had gone  with gum disease undiagnosed (like so  many) to his dentist for around 20 years. That's about 40 separate visits at twice per year. And still his dentist and the dental hygienist had both failed to spot the disease! Even today,  gum disease often goes unnoticed and undiagnosed, not to mention, untreated - until it is too late. My father, however, was one of the fortunate ones, in that I was completing my degree in dental surgery and specialising in gum disease, periodontology, at Manchester University School of Dentistry. Dad expressed his willingness to do anything not to have to face the horror of losing all his teeth. He thus he ended up coming for dental treatment to me at Manchester. My professor, the dental hygienist and I worked on his teeth and gums for one whole year. I was the first student to elect to study the causes and treatment of gum disease at the then newly-opened department of gum disease, periodontitis, gingivitis and periodontology at Manchester University. 


  • Together, my professor and I worked hard and saved all my dad’s teeth. Father passed away in 2007 at the age of almost 84 – with all his own teeth. Together, we had enabled him to enjoy and benefit from his own teeth. For over 30 years, he had been able to enjoy the fruits of his dental care. He was proud of his beautiful teeth. He was not longer condemned to wear loose, clattering plastic dentures like many people of his age. He did indeed have some dental crowns, bridges and 2 dental implants, but he had all his own teeth. Fourteen teeth in the top jaw, fourteen in the lower jaw. And, everyone agreed,  a very charming, winning smile.  I studied with German specialists how to successfully treat gum disease – I treat full mouth gum advanced disease in just one morning. My patients come with gum disease and go home later that morning – cured! I have now carried out over 2 500 gum and periodontal operations. As any good architect knows, you need to build on a firm foundation.

  • Detailed image of a crown root

What good is a house built on sand? Healthy, pink  gums are the pre-requisite, the healthy foundation for your natural-looking teeth and cosmetic dental crown and bridgework. I have related this story to many of my friends and patients and it moves them deeply. I hope it reflects my philosophy of care, helping over  20 000 patients to keep, enjoy and take pride in their own beautiful white teeth and healthy, pink gums. 


If you are worried about your gums or have gaps appearing between your teeth, come and see me soon. The longer you wait, the less probability you have of keeping your own teeth.

I have no special tricks. I simply treat every patient with the same care and attention – as I did for my own father. 


Garry Bonsall 

Dedicated to the memory of my dad George Roger Bonsall, 1924-2007