Types of Gum Disease

The word periodontal actually comes from the Greek derivation with “peri” meaning around and “odont” meaning tooth. Thus, the combination of the two roots means around the tooth. Therefore, the two anatomic parts around the tooth are the gums or gingiva and the bone. Typically, as periodontal disease is present most people are unaware of it going on. It is a silent type of infection; however, it can have dire consequences. This is initiated by the presence of bacteria. As the bacteria gets mineralized it becomes hardened and affixed to the calculus or tartar. As a response the gums many times will become inflamed, reddened, or swollen with or without bleeding. If the bacteria, tartar, or calculus persist the jawbone will react by dissolving away in order to keep a safe distance from the advancing bacterial infection. If enough bone deteriorates the tooth will begin to get loose or could even fall out in its entirety. Again, typically this is not painful and often times caught too late. Simply bacteria get around the tooth and cause the healthy gum to unzip along the tooth root. We call this the formation of a pocket. As the pocket deepens patients can’t be effective in removing the bacteria residing in the pocket. As a result, the pocket deepens and bone loss will occur as a result of the infection.
The extent of the infection and the resulting bone loss is how our Aurora and Littleton gum disease experts classify the different types of periodontal disease — also referred to as gingivitis, periodontitis, and gum disease.
Gingivitis is the mildest and most common type of gum disease. It is a result of the bacteria present in your mouth and causes the gums to be swollen, inflamed, and infected. It can be common in people of all ages. Fortunately, gingivitis does not lead to bone loss and is reversible with periodontal treatment. A common treatment would be either a professional cleaning along with good home maintenance (brushing and flossing) or with a deep cleaning, commonly referred to as scaling and root planing.
Chronic Periodontitis
Chronic periodontitis affects approximately 50-70% of the adult population, based on which study you choose to quote. Nevertheless, it is extremely common in most adults. Chronic periodontal disease, unlike gingivitis, involves the destruction of the supporting jawbone around the teeth. It can be classified as mild, moderate, and aggressive or advanced gum disease. Obviously, the more bone you lose around a tooth, the worse its prognosis for survival becomes. Additionally, the earlier periodontitis gets treated the greater the likelihood of being able to save your teeth. Many times, when diagnosing periodontal disease, our Littleton and Aurora gum disease team will mention pockets or pocket depth. The deeper the pocket, the more the bone loss. Additionally, X-rays can alert the periodontist to the severity of the bone loss. As a general rule, 0 to 3 mm of pocket depth are considered healthy, 4 mm are borderline, and 5 mm or greater is where we get concerned. Similarly to the gingivitis patient, bleeding and swollen gums can be present and suppuration or pus also can be present.
Aggressive Periodontitis
Aggressive periodontitis is a form of periodontal disease where rapid loss of gum or bone may occur. It tends to occur as the name implies in an aggressive or rapid manner. It may be related to systemic diseases or in people who smoke or others who have a family history of susceptibility of gum disease. If you suspect you have aggressive periodontal disease do not wait to get it treated. It will not self-correct. You will need the help of a periodontist near you .
Periodontal Disease and Systemic Disease
In recent years the medical community has recognized the severity of periodontal disease and its association with other systemic disease. Since periodontal disease is a main source of inflammation of the body. The medical community is recognizing gum disease as a significant risk factor to other diseases. Of particularly high correlation are heart disease, strokes, and diabetes in addition to preterm pregnancies. These are but a few but there are many others associated and related to gum disease with bacteria from the oral cavity being recognized as risk factors and the culprit in other infections.
If you have any question or concerns about the different types of periodontal disease and treatments, please ask your dentist.
Learn More About the Types of Gum Disease in Aurora or Littleton
If you have any questions or concerns about the different types of periodontal disease and their severity, please request an appointment with one of our periodontists. Our team includes Drs. Heller, Beckman, Thousand and Versman.

Your Dental Health Starts Here. Request an Appointment.

Or call — 303-755-4500

  • Valerie FarrarValerie Farrar

    I've had the best experience with this office. I have had some terrible experiences in the pass with different places. They made me feel comfortable and I couldn't have a better team to tend to all my dental needs. They take the time to really care by reaching out to check on you, and getting your emergency taken care asap even during a pandemic.

  • Hollie KarrHollie Karr

    Warm and very friendly environment. They take so much time to explain things and treat you as if you were one of their family members having a procedure done. Michelle the dental hygienist, Liz the technician, as well as Stephanie, Dr Beckman’s assistant go above and beyond to make you feel like you’re they’re only patient! Dr. Beckman and his team’s demeanor make you feel at ease and relaxed. Dr. Beckman always has a calm, patient, and very caring demeanor which very clearly trickles down to his staff! Thank you for all you do!

  • Brigitte AdesBrigitte Ades

    Love the teamwork here! Talk about having fun while going to the dentist, yes it is true. You can have fun and get great work done. Whenever I need anything done the team from Periodontal Associates is there. I am thrilled to leave a review for this group of dentist. They are simply amazing

  • Silke SancaktarSilke Sancaktar

    I needed an implant on one of my rear molars, and Dr. Thousand and his team did the implant work at the Aurora office. I had to do the procedure with minimal sedation due to the fact that I had to drive myself back to work after the procedure. Despite this, there was minimal pain and discomfort, and everyone did an incredible job. He's very good about telling you what he's doing and is very detail-oriented. He is never dismissive and always takes time to answer questions.

    After everything healed up I went to my regular dentist to have the crown installed. After the crown placement I had a terrible headache and toothache for a week before my regular dentist would see me again to adjust the crown. However, even after she made some adjustments I was still in pain the next day.

    I didn’t know what else to do so I reached back out to Dr. Thousand for help even though he wasn’t responsible for the crown. Knowing that I was in acute pain they were able to get me in the same day at the Littleton office. Turns out there were some major defects on the crown that my dentist had overlooked that contributed to the acute pain, and would have likely resulted in infection down the road. Dr. Thousand spent almost an hour working with me and modifying the crown for temporary use so that I could have it placed back over the implant while a new crown is made.

    He didn’t need to do this since this wasn’t a mistake attributable to his office, but he and his team went above and beyond, and didn’t even charge me for the work. I had been in so much pain I could barely focus, and so this help meant so much to me because I could now function again. This was at the end of their day so I’m sure it meant a later day for everyone, but I can’t thank you all enough for giving me that relief. We’ll certainly be coming here for future dental issues, and referring Dr. Thousand and his team to friends.

  • Jean PonderJean Ponder

    Professional, knowledgeable, friendly, on time visits. Superb work from the office team to Dr Heller & Erin. Thank You

  • Melissa H.Melissa H.

    Let's be honest here - there is nothing fun about having gum surgery. However, the staff and Dr. Heller were as good as it gets with regard to my treatment....

  • Bridget B.Bridget B.

    Wow, from the moment I walked in I felt welcome. Super nice people and caring. I am a chicken and do not like dentist anything. Doctor Heller explained...

  • Sara KluhsmanSara Kluhsman

    Dr. Thousand is pure genius! He fixed a failing implant & placed a new 1 as well. I will never go anywhere else. That man preforms miracles!

  • Karen Pelling LevineKaren Pelling Levine

    Dr. Doug Heller is one of three of the doctors that make up the driving force in my efforts to save my teeth and my overall health. What started out as one broken tooth led to the possibility of my losing all of my teeth to gum disease. Panicked, I reached for a second opinion and found Dr. Heller, along with my regular Dentist & Orthodontist. I am now the proud owner of only 5 implants, as opposed to full upper and lower implants OR full dentures. Though dental procedures are hardly fun, Dr. Heller and his staff have made it a smooth process, from financial to face-changing....I couldn't be happier. 😁 You be the judge. My profile pic, there on the left, is a fine example of their handiwork.
    Double Bonus: Doorbell just rang. Beautiful plant has just arrived to cheer me in my recovery....Thank you, Dr. Heller and your wonderful Staff!

  • Jerome GilmerJerome Gilmer

    I was sent to Dr. Beckman on a referral from my dentist because of a slightly loose tooth. Dr. Beckman evaluated the situation and recommended a gum graft and bite adjustment. It is now six weeks since the procedure, and while the recovery was not painless, it was pretty much exactly as he said it would be. Upon evaluation earlier this week it was clear that the procedure was successful.

    Dr. Beckman and the staff were very nice, supportive and professional and I would highly recommend this practice to anyone needing this kind of help.

  • Tori Horton HamillTori Horton Hamill

    Dr Beckman performed a gum graft. I was nervous, but he explained everything clearly and thoroughly. The staff were very accommodating when I had to reschedule and they keep the schedule flowing on time so I was not sitting and waiting beyond the appointment time. The only downside was having to ask multiple times about the cost and what my calculated out of pocket would be. Would definitely recommend.

  • Ashley SingletaryAshley Singletary

    5 stars! Dr. Beckman and the entire office staff provide superior customer service and care. I recently had a gum graft performed and from the very first meeting I felt at ease. Dr. Beckman took his time explaining the procedure and patiently answered any questions I had. On the day of the procedure they go the extra mile to make sure you are comfortable- they use top of the line medical treatment for an effective procedure and speedy recovery. The team was very supportive and available through the entire process and even calls to check on you post procedure. I highly recommend Dr. Beckman and his team!

  • Doris BinderDoris Binder

    I needed to get some implants and Dr. Heller was recommended. Thankfully, he was absolutely wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect, but he explained everything that needed be done and the procedure began. Now it's not an over night process, but the weeks after each step was a piece of cake. I am so happy with my implants. I had to have a tooth pulled a few weeks ago, and I don't know how he does it, but I had zero pain, no complications and I needed no pain Meds. The staff is so friendly and I highly recommend them.

  • Kenneth McCallKenneth McCall
  • Jan BernsteinJan Bernstein

    Dr. Beckman and the staff couldn't have been nicer or more professional. I highly recommend the practice to anyone in need of a periodontist.

  • Chelsy LaForceChelsy LaForce

    Dr. Heller and the rest of the team is absolutely amazing. They are super helpful through the entire process and I knew I was in great hands. Thank you so much!

  • Terry Lavitt SeiverTerry Lavitt Seiver
  • Aprille Tripler MooreAprille Tripler Moore

    Dr. Beckman and the entire staff at Periodontal Associates are amazing! Dr. Beckman performed a gum graft procedure on me and to my surprise and relief I felt no pain. Not during the procedure or post op. The entire experience from consult through my last follow up appointment was topnotch.

  • Terry SandahlTerry Sandahl

    I have been a patient of first Dr. Versman and then Dr. Heller for over 20 years. This is an amazing periodontal group! I feel so comfortable having them take care of my needs~and there have been many! Dr. Heller is so easy going and I never feel like whatever he does will fail. They have a great support staff too! All their assistants are competent and friendly, and my hygienist Michelle is the best! Love these guys and wouldn't think of going anywhere else!

  • Holly DeLuise BodineHolly DeLuise Bodine

    I have some complicated dental issues but Dr. Heller and his team have handled them very well, and as painlessly as is possible. Dr. Heller explains things very thoroughly!

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