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What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

The term periodontal literally means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition which affects the supporting soft tissues as well as the surrounding soft tissues of the tooth. During the advanced stages of the periodontal disease, the jaw bone will be affected as well.

Periodontal disease will usually develop after untreated gum disease. Plaque and calculus accumulations contain bacteria and their toxins which irritate the gums and cause the inflammation of the gum tissues. Gums will become red, swollen and sometimes painful. This is when gum disease occurs.

When the bacteria attack the deeper structures inside the pockets, this is when the periodontal disease develops. At this stage it is more difficult to treat the condition and eliminate all the irritations. Periodontal disease is progressive and will lead to bone loss and teeth loss with time if left untreated. Once detected and diagnosed, it should be promptly treated.

Types Of Periodontal Disease
As mentioned above, when gum disease is left untreated, it will progress into periodontitis. The condition can give mild to no symptoms at all. Because of this, again, it is extremely important to have regular dental exams since the early detection is the only way to the effective cure and treatment.

The presence of deep periodontal pockets is an indication that the periodontitis has progressed and that the effective measures and treatment plans need to be taken.

Some of the most common periodontal disease types are:

1. Chronic periodontitis – Large plaque and calculus accumulations will cause inflammation of the soft tissues around and under the gum line. This will cause the deepening of the pockets and bone loss. The gums will recede and the teeth will appear to be longer. This is due to the destruction of the soft tissues. This is the most common form of the periodontal disease and it is important to note it in time and start the adequate treatment.
2. Necrotizing periodontitis – This is a hard and painful condition which affects individuals suffering from HIV, immunosupression, malnutrition. Necrosis or tissue death occurs in the gums, periodontal tissues and bone. Some of the symptoms are pain, bleeding from the gums, bad breath, hypersalivation, necrosis of the dental papillae.
3. Aggressive periodontitis – It develops in the clinically healthy individuals who have no system is diseases and low cavity activity. It is characterized by a rapid bone loss and gum recession. It has been noted that this type of periodontitis has genetic implications and it can occur in certain families more often.
4. Periodontitis caused by a systemic disease – This form starts in the early age of an individual. Common factors are diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease etc.

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