Health

Battling the Silent Invaders: Unraveling the Types of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a form of progressive gum disease caused by increased plaque accumulation and bacterial infiltration. It may begin as an acute inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which can gradually spread to the supporting tissues and the underlying alveolar bone (periodontitis).

Our acclaimed dentist in Powell, TN, specializes in comprehensive diagnosis of early gum changes and is actively involved in patient awareness about different types of periodontal disease. 

What is periodontal disease? 

Periodontal disease is a chronic, progressive, or destructive dental disease affecting the periodontium (made up of cementum, gingiva, periodontal ligament, and the jawbone). It often occurs due to excess buildup of plaque that favors bacterial infiltration. Bacteria increase the secretion of harmful acids and toxins that attack the gum tissues, forming gingival pockets. 

As the bacteria breeds through the gingival tissues, the pockets grow deeper, invading the alveolar bone, thus receding the affected gum tissues. If left untreated, this causes loss of attachment and tooth mobility. 

How is periodontal disease classified

There are several forms of periodontal disease according to the severity of the condition. 

Gingivitis

  • This is the most common and mildest form of periodontitis, leading to acute inflammation of the gums. 
  • Primary causes: 
    • Pregnancy
    • Uncontrolled diabetes
    • Stress
    • Certain medications like antihypertensive drugs and birth control pills. 
  • Treatment includes:
    • Proper brushing and flossing
    • Professional scaling and root planing
    • Antibiotics to kill bacteria
    • Medicated mouthwashes to promote pocket healing. 

Chronic periodontal disease 

  • The disease involves the tissues below the gum line (subgingivally), in addition to bone involvement. Gum recession is a common symptom. 
  • Treatment includes:
    • Scaling and root planing
    • Antimicrobial medications
    • Pocket reduction surgery
    • Gum grafting 

Aggressive periodontal disease

  • This is the most severe form that is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment and bone tissues. 
  • Smoking and family history are common risk factors that may increase the likelihood of aggressive periodontal disease. 
  • Treatment includes:
    • Scaling and root planing
    • Laser surgical correction

Necrotizing periodontal disease

  • This form of disease is most prevalent among people with HIV (due to compromised immunity), malnutrition, and chronic stress.
  • Tissue death (necrosis) may involve the periodontal ligament, gingival tissues, and alveolar bone. 
  • Treatment includes:
    • Scaling and root planing
    • Antibiotics
    • Medicated mouthwash
    • Antifungal drugs

Periodontal disease related to systemic health conditions

  • Periodontal disease could be a symptom of other health conditions affecting the rest of the body. 
  • Diabetes, heart, and respiratory disease are the most common risk factors that intensify gum disease. 
  • Treatment includes:
    • Managing or treating the underlying systemic disease. 

Remember…

Periodontal disease, during the early stage (gingivitis), is reversible and can be effectively cured if detected on time. This is possible through good oral hygiene, regular dental visits, and professional cleaning. If left untreated, it may progress to the underlying bone, requiring extensive dental procedures. 

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