Types of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also referred to as gum disease or periodontitis, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. 

It's an aggressive infection affecting over 40% of adults in the United States. Early detection and proper oral care are vital to avoid permanent tissue and bone decay. Dr. Chew, our dentist in Fremont, CA, is here to break down the types of gum disease and answer frequently asked questions. 

5 Types of Gum Disease 

While there are common symptoms of gum disease, there are a few different types. Gum disease has many treatment methods depending on how serious it is. Here are the different types of gum disease and how they're treated. 

  1. Gingivitis
  2. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and the only one that is reversible. It's characterized by inflammation of the gums and plaque accumulation on teeth. Common symptoms include sore or tender gums and bleeding while brushing.

    The most common way to develop gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Inconsistent oral hygiene allows plaque to build up on teeth. Plaque is a naturally occurring bacteria and brushing twice a day is necessary to remove it. Irregular oral care can cause it to build up and lead to an infection that eats away soft tissue. 

    Gum disease treatment is critical in the early stages. If left untreated it can progress into later stages of gum disease, causing bone and tooth decay. 

  3. Aggressive Periodontitis
  4. Aggressive periodontitis is defined by rapid tissue loss and bone destruction. This means that the gums and tissue holding your teeth together deteriorate. When your gums become weak, teeth can start to unattach themselves.

    Those with herpes, or family members who have suffered from gum disease, are at a higher risk.

  5. Chronic Periodontitis
  6. Chronic periodontitis is generally found in those over 40. The symptoms are almost identical to aggressive periodontitis, so the two are difficult to tell apart. To further complicate things, chronic periodontitis can have short periods of rapid development. This characteristic creates the potential for it to be mislabeled.

  7. Periodontitis Caused by Systemic Diseases
  8. Periodontal disease is much more common in those who have underlying health conditions. These ailments act as risk factors for gum disease. Because of its prevalence, periodontitis related to systemic disease is a classification of its own. 

    While it can affect anyone, these systemic risk factors increase the likelihood of gum disease:

    • Hormonal Imbalances

    • Endocrine Disorders

    • Respirator Abnormalities

    • Cardiovascular Abnormalities

    • HIV or AIDS

    Anyone who suffers from one of these underlying conditions should be hyper-diligent with oral care. Additionally, dental checkups should be scheduled at least every six months.

  9. Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
  10. Like the other types, necrotizing periodontal disease is the result of improper oral care. This form of gum disease is very aggressive and is prominent in those with weak immune systems. Fortunately, necrotizing periodontitis is rare, but it can quickly lead to irreversible tooth, bone, and gum decay.

    Some risk factors that increase the chances of developing necrotizing periodontal disease include:

    • HIV

    • Immunosuppression

    • Malnutrition

    • Lack of Protein

    • Long Periods of Stress

    • Frequent Tobacco Use

Gum Disease FAQ 

Because periodontitis is so damaging, we want to educate as many people as possible on it. We hope that by knowing what to look for, gum disease can be caught and treated early.

Can Gum Disease Be Reversed? 

Gum disease can be reversed if you're in the early stages, known as gingivitis. Gum disease is not reversible once it progresses past gingivitis. Even if all the plaque and tartar are removed, the damaged areas will not regenerate. Of course there are still treatment options, but they're more serious ones, such as bone grafting and tooth replacement. 

What Does Gum Disease Look Like? 

Gum disease comes in many forms as far as what it physically looks like. As it progresses, different characteristics will appear. Some of the warning signs to look for include:

  • Gum Discoloration

  • Blood When Flossing or Brushing Teeth

  • Yellowing or Browning of Teeth (Especially Near the Gumline)

  • Swollen Gums

How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?

Without a professional evaluation, it’s hard to know for certain. Some of the undeniable warning signs are:

  • Gum Recession

  • Browning of Teeth

  • Soreness and Bleeding When Brushing Teeth

  • Loose Permanent Teeth

  • Losing Permanent Teeth

Periodontal Disease Treatment in Fremont, CA

Periodontal disease can progress very quickly and lead to a lower quality of life. Whether you're due for a checkup or think you might have gum disease, call or click to make an appointment today!


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