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Periodontal Disease
Types of Periodontal Disease

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Types of Periodontal Disease

gingivitisPeriodontal disease -- also called periodontitis or gum disease -- is a progressive condition that impacts the tissues that support and surround the teeth, including the gums and jawbone. When not treated, periodontal disease results in unstable teeth, the loss of teeth and other problems. This type of disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults in the Western world and isn’t something that should be taken lightly.

Periodontal disease starts when toxins in plaque attack the gums and related soft tissue around teeth. The bacteria embeds into the tissue and breeds rapidly, starting a bacterial infection. As the infection gets worse, it begins to burrow deep into the gums, leading to irritation and inflammation between gums and teeth. The body responds by trying to destroy the infection, and a side effect is the recession of the gums. This leaves a pocket between teeth and gums that gets gradually deeper. If you don’t get treatment, the jawbone itself can start to recede, leading to tooth instability and the loss of teeth.

Periodontal Disease Types

Periodontal disease comes in many different varieties that can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. All of these ways, however, need immediate treatment by a skilled periodontist to stop disease progression and save gums and bone.

Listed below are some common periodontal disease types and information about treatments typically used to correct them:


The mildest and most common type of gum disease, gingivitis is caused by toxins that exist in plaque. The people who are at greatest risk for gingivitis are women who take birth control pills, women who are pregnant, anyone with uncontrolled diabetes, those who use steroids and those who take blood pressure or anti-seizure medications.

Treatment: This condition is reversed easily using a combination of professional cleaning and improved home care. Your dentist may do deep scaling and root planing to clean debris out of pockets. Then, antibiotics along with medicated mouthwashes may be used to kill off bacteria that remains and to promote healing.

Chronic Periodontal Disease

Occurring frequently in people over the age of 45, chronic periodontal disease is very common. It is characterized by below-the-gum-line inflammation and the progressive destruction of gums, soft tissue and bone. Teeth may appear to be getting longer, but in reality, the gums are receding.

Treatment: Like gingivitis, a complete cure for chronic periodontal disease is impossible because lost tissue cannot be regenerated. A dentist can, however, stop the disease from progressing using scaling and root planing along with antimicrobial treatments. When necessary, a periodontist can take surgical action, including pocket reduction surgery and tissue grafts that strengthen bone and make the mouth look and work better.

Aggressive Periodontal Disease

Characterized by the rapid loss of gum attachment, aggressive periodontal disease involves quick loss of bone tissue and must be stopped to maintain oral health. The disease is the same as chronic periodontitis except that it progresses at a much faster rate. Those with a family history of this kind of disease as well as smokers are at an increased risk for aggressive periodontal disease.

Treatment: Treating aggressive disease is done in the same way as treating chronic disease, but surgical intervention is much more likely in the case of aggressive disease since the disease is harder to treat and stop from progressing. Recommended procedures include scaling and root planning as well as antimicrobial products and laser procedures, in some cases. The aim is to save as much soft tissue and bone as possible.

Periodontal Disease Connected with Systemic Conditions

In some cases, periodontal disease is a symptom of a condition or disease elsewhere in the body. Depending on what that disease is, the periodontal disease may behave aggressively, rapidly destroying tissue that can’t be regained. Common cofactors include heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes, but there are many others. Even when there is very little plaque present, other conditions can accelerate or intensify the progression of periodontitis.

Treatment: The first plan of attack is to control the underlying medical condition. Then, the dentist can stop the progression of the periodontal disease in the same way that chronic or aggressive oral disease is controlled. dr paige woods dds

Necrotizing Periodontal Disease

A form of gum disease that gets worse very quickly and is very common among people with HIV and other immunosuppressive diseases as well as malnutrition, a habit of smoking and chronic stress, necrotizing periodontal disease is a form of tissue death that attacks the ligaments, tissues and bone in the mouth. The good news is that this condition is rare.

Treatment: Since this condition is usually linked to HIV and other conditions, the dentist will most likely consult with the doctor treating the illness first. Then, treatment is the same as with other periodontal disease. This includes the combination of scaling and root planing plus medicated mouth rinses, oral fungicidal medications and antibiotic pills.

If you are worried about Periodontal Disease, call (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr. Paige Woods, DDS.