Periodontal (gum) disease is a common and painful condition in horses, especially in older horses. It is most commonly caused by a diastema, which is a space between the teeth. Feed material gets packed into this space and causes periodontal disease. Two treatment methods for periodontal disease caused by diastemata are widening the diastema or filling the diastema. Widening the space allows for food to cycle out of the diastema, rather than continuously packing in the space. This prevents food material and bacteria from travelling up the tooth and around the roots, causing an infection. Diastemata can also be temporarily filled to allow the gums around the tooth a chance to heal.