The term periodontal disease (also called periodontitis and gum disease) is a term used to describe a progressive disease that affects both the supporting and surrounding tissues of the gums, as well as the underlying bone structure of the jaws. It is important to keep in mind that if periodontal disease is not properly treated, it can lead to loose, unstable, and even lost teeth. There is no doubt that periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults in the developed world, and it is something that should not be taken lightly.

In order for periodontitis to begin, the toxins present in plaque begin to attack the soft or gingival tissue surrounding the teeth, causing them to become inflamed. A bacterial infection is caused when a bacterium embeds itself in the gum and breeds rapidly, causing the gum to become infected. It is important to note that as the infection progresses, it causes irritation or inflammation between the gums and the teeth as it burrows deeper into the tissue. The body’s response is to destroy the infected tissue, which explains why the gums appear to recede as a result of the body’s response. If no treatment is sought, the pockets between the teeth deepen and the tissue that makes up the jawbone recedes as well, resulting in unstable teeth and tooth loss.

Periodontal diseases and their types

Various types of periodontal disease exist, and there are a variety of ways in which these variations manifest themselves, as well. In order to halt the progression of any of these conditions and save the gum tissue and bone, a periodontist must be consulted immediately. Periodontal disease can be classified into the following types in terms of its symptoms and treatments and below you will find an overview of some of the most common types:

Chronic Periodontal Disease

Among people over 45, chronic periodontal disease is the most common form of the disease. Symptoms of chronic periodontitis include inflammation beneath the gum line and progressive destruction of the gingival and bone tissue. There may appear to be gradual lengthening of the teeth, but in actuality it is the receding gums that are causing the teeth to appear longer.

Treatment involves:

It is unfortunately not possible to fully cure chronic periodontal disease compared to gingivitis due to the lack of support tissue that can be repaired. In the event that scaling and root planing procedures are performed in conjunction with antimicrobial treatments in order to stop the progression of the disease, it may be possible to stop the disease’s progression. It may be necessary for the periodontist to perform surgical procedures such as pocket reduction surgery and tissue grafts in order to strengthen the bone and improve the aesthetic appearance of the oral cavity, depending on the situation.


The most common form of periodontitis is gingivitis, which is the mildest and most common form of periodontitis. As a result of the toxins found in plaque, it causes periodontal disease to develop. People who take birth control pills, pregnant women, those who take birth control pills, those who have uncontrolled diabetes, those who use steroids and those who take medications to control seizures and blood pressure are at increased risk of developing gingivitis.

Treatment involves:

A combination of home care and professional cleaning can easily reverse gingivitis with a solid combination of home care and professional cleaning. In order to remove debris from the pockets, the dentist may perform root planing and deep scaling procedures during the appointment. It may be necessary to use a combination of antibiotics and medicated mouthwashes in order to kill any remaining bacteria and promote the healthy healing of the pockets as soon as possible.

Periodontal disease that is aggressive

There are several characteristics of aggressive periodontal disease, such as the rapid loss of gum attachment, rapid loss of bone tissue and familial aggregation of the disease. The disease itself is essentially the same as chronic periodontitis, but it progresses much more quickly than chronic periodontitis. People who smoke and those with a family history of this disease are at an increased risk of developing aggressive periodontitis as a result of this disease.

The treatment involves:

Treatments for aggressive periodontal disease are the same as those for chronic periodontal disease, however those who suffer from aggressive periodontal disease are much more likely to require surgical intervention than those who do not suffer from aggressive periodontal disease. It is harder to treat and halt this form of the disease, but in some cases, a dentist may be able to save a significant amount of valuable tissue and bone by using scaling, root planing, antimicrobials and in some cases laser procedures.

Periodontal Disease Related to Systemic Conditions

The presence of periodontal disease can be a symptom of a broader health condition or disease that affects the rest of the body as well. It is important to note that depending on the underlying condition, the disease may behave similarly to aggressive periodontal disease, where the tissue is rapidly destroyed. Among the most common cofactors, you will find heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease, but there are a few others as well. Despite little plaque coating the teeth, many medical conditions can exacerbate and accelerate the progression of periodontal disease.

The treatment involves:

It is first necessary to control the medical condition that caused the onset of periodontal disease. Using the same treatments used to control chronic and aggressive periodontal disease, the dentist will halt the progression of the disease.

Necrotizing Periodontal Disease

In the presence of HIV, immunosuppression, malnutrition, chronic stress and smoking, this form of the disease rapidly worsens, and is more prevalent in people who suffer from HIV, immunosuppression, malnutrition, chronic stress and who smoke. In most cases, the periodontal ligament, the gingiva, and the alveolar bone are affected by tissue death (necrosis).

The treatment involves:

It is extremely rare for periodontal disease to lead to necrosis. The dentist is likely to consult with a physician about the diagnosis before taking any action in order to determine whether it is associated with HIV or any other serious medical condition. In order to treat this form of the disease, there are usually a number of different treatment options available, including scaling, root planing, antibiotic pills, medicated mouthwash and fungicidal medicines.

Please ask your dentist about the different types of periodontal disease and treatments.

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