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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
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.

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