A periodontal disease is a disorder affecting the tissue and bones of the gums. Untreated and long-term infections can extend into the jaw bone and may cause teeth to shift and loose. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is caused by bacterial infections from plaque build-up around the gum line. Over time, plaque build-up hardens into tartar, a substance that can irritate and cut sensitive tissues, and allow more bacteria to enter affected areas. Swelling, bleeding, and pain are common symptoms.

Types of Periodontal Disease

  • Gingivitis is the most common form of gum disease. If left untreated, this mild condition can quickly progress into a more serious infection.
  • Chronic Periodontal Disease causes swelling below the gum line and the progressive deterioration of surrounding bone tissue. This condition mostly affects people over the age of 45.
  • Aggressive Periodontal Disease is similar to chronic periodontitis, but occurs at a faster rate.
  • Necrotizing Periodontal Disease affects those who already suffer from chronic issues like HIV, malnutrition, stress, and smoking. The infected cells die rapidly, causing damage to bones and ligaments in the jaw.

Periodontal disease can also be a symptom of another condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Treatment Options

Many types of gum disease are reversible when treatment is sought early. Professional cleaning, home care, and oral antibiotics may be used to treat superficial infections. For more advanced cases, a dentist may need to use more aggressive treatments, like surgeries to remove and rebuild infected tissues and bone structures.

For best results, contact your dental professional right away if you notice signs of possible periodontal disease.