Different types of gum disease
Gum disease varies from patient to patient, with age, with scope, and with severity. Referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease can present itself as basic gum inflammation, or something much more serious, with the potential to damage tissue and bone. In worst-case scenarios, teeth can be completely lost. The good news is that gum disease can be prevented (or slowed down) with preventive dental maintenance and with the appropriate dental care for teeth and gums.
Gingivitis is a mild version of gum disease. In terms of symptoms, the patient’s gums become red, unusually swollen, and will bleed quite easily. For most patients, these symptoms don’t present any discomfort, and as such, there’s not much cause for alarm. Gingivitis is most often rooted in poor personal oral care. In other words, it’s gum disease that could be prevented. It’s realistically reversible, and can be achieved with better personal oral care and professional dental treatment.
When left untreated, gingivitis can slowly advance into periodontal gum disease, and then result in tooth loss. It all has to do with tooth plaque, because plaque spreads below the gums, and then bacteria aggravates the gum tissue. Inflammation is exacerbated, and both tissue and bone begin to deteriorate. When periodontal gum disease progresses, more and more tissue and bone are affected – it’s a seriously destructive process with initial symptoms that are quite mild.
Chronic periodontitis is a common form of periodontal gum disease. Age is a determining factor and for older adults, there is more likelihood. But with proper diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and continuing care, teeth can be saved. Unlike gingivitis, periodontal gum disease can’t be 100% reversed. It’s because damaged tissues can’t be replaced. However, professional treatment and improved personal oral health can stop the deterioration, and avert more serious problems.
Aggressive periodontitis is a condition that deteriorates quickly. It runs in families and research has shown that it can be inherited. Aggressive periodontal gum disease is common with smokers.
The condition is more common in younger patients, but results from the same bacteria infection found in plaque. As a result, antibiotics are often required, as well as surgery. With this condition early diagnosis is essential, as is comprehensive treatment and ongoing oral health care.
In some cases, periodontal gum disease can be a result of other diseases affecting a patient. With this form of periodontitis, symptoms may vary, and accurate diagnosis is absolutely vital. Here, a treatment plan would involve managing a patient’s medical issues, while simultaneously treating the periodontitis. Conditions like heart disease and diabetes are at the forefront here, and can have an impact on treatment and on potential outcomes. Medical and dental oversight is crucial.
Risk factors for gum disease have been well documented. Many can be managed to reduce risk and avert deterioration. For example, smoking has been shown to be the biggest risk factor in the development and deterioration of gum disease. As well, stress can reduce the ability to fight the infection associated with periodontitis. Another risk factor, grinding teeth, puts stress on tissues and teeth, and potentially speeds up gum disease. Clearly, each of these are easily manageable.