Types of Periodontal Disease
Untreated periodontal disease can eventually lead to tooth loss and other health problems.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to
become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no
discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral
hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good
oral home care.
Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking,
aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions,
stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy,
substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque
can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria
in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory
response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues
and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums
separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and
gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets
deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this
destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become
loose and may have to be removed.
There are many forms of periodontitis. The most common ones include the following.
Aggressive periodontitis occurs in patients who are otherwise
clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and
bone destruction and familial aggregation.
Chronic periodontitis results in inflammation within the
supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss.
This is the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis and is
characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is
prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of
attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression
Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases often
begins at a young age. Systemic conditions such as heart disease,
respiratory disease, and diabetes are associated with this form of
Necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection characterized
by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone.
These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic
conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression.
If you have any question or concerns about the different types of periodontal disease and treatments, please contact our office.