What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition affecting the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth and even the jawbone in its most advanced stages. It is most often preceded by gingivitis, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue that affects the gums when toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues such that this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth.  Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone and can lead to shifting teeth, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss if left untreated.

Some of the most common types of periodontal disease are:

  • Chronic periodontitis  – As the most common form of periodontal disease and characterized by progressive loss of attachment, interspersed with periods of rapid progression, inflammation within supporting tissues cause deep pockets and gum recession. 
  • Aggressive periodontitis  – This form of gum disease occurs in an otherwise clinically healthy individual and is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment, chronic bone destruction and familial aggregation.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis  – This form of periodontal disease usually occurs in those suffering from systemic conditions such as HIV, immunosuppression and malnutrition.
  • Periodontitis caused by systemic disease  – This form of gum disease often begins at an early age and is usually triggered by medical conditions such as respiratory disease, diabetes and heart disease.
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