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Types of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive disease that affects the supporting tissues in and around the mouth, as well as the underlying jawbone and if left untreated, gum disease can occur has caused weak and unstable teeth and even tooth loss. In fact, periodontal disease is the leading cause of dental caries in adults in developed countries and should not be underestimated.

Periodontal disease begins when toxins found in plaque begin to attack the soft tissue or gum tissue that surrounds the teeth. This bacterium invades the oral cavity and reproduces rapidly, causing infection. As the infection progresses, it begins to burrow deeper into the root canal causing inflammation or embedding between the teeth and gums. The body’s response is to destroy the affected tissue, so the jaw appears to have retracted. The pocket that forms between the teeth deepens and if left untreated, the cartilage that makes up the jaw bone also retracts resulting in tooth instability and tooth decay.

Types of Periodontal Disease

There are many different types of periodontitis, and the way these changes manifest. All require immediate treatment by a dentist to stop progression and preserve jawbone and bone.

Here are some of the most common types of gum disease, along with common treatments to correct them.


The least severe and most typical type of periodontitis is gingivitis. Periodontal disease is brought on by the toxins in plaque. Women who are pregnant, those who use birth control pills, those who have uncontrolled diabetes, those who use steroids, and those who take medication to manage their blood pressure and seizures are at an increased risk of developing gingivitis.

Treatment: Gingivitis is easily reversible using a solid combination of home care and professional hygiene treatment. The dentist or dental hygienist may perform root planing and deep scaling procedures to cleanse the pockets of debris. A combination of antibiotics and medicated mouthwashes may be used to kill any remaining bacteria and promote the good healing of the pockets.

Chronic Periodontal Disease

The most prevalent type of periodontal disease is chronic, and people over 45 are much more likely to develop it. Inflammation below the gum line and the gradual deterioration of the gingival and bone tissue are the hallmarks of chronic periodontal disease. Although it may seem like the teeth are gradually getting longer, the gums are actually gradually receding.

Treatment: Unfortunately, unlike chronic gum disease, chronic periodontitis cannot be cured completely because the supporting tissues cannot be rebuilt However, the dentist and dental hygienist can halt the progression of the disease using scaling and root planing procedures and more frequent hygiene visits.

Aggressive Periodontal Disease

Rapid loss of bone tissue, gum attachment, and familial aggregation are signs of aggressive periodontal disease. The disease itself is essentially the same as chronic periodontitis, but it progresses much more quickly. Aggressive periodontitis is more likely to develop in smokers and people with a family history of the condition.

Treatment: Patients with aggressive periodontal disease are much more likely to need surgical intervention than those with chronic periodontal disease, but both conditions can be treated. The dentist will use scaling, root planing, antimicrobial, and in some cases laser procedures in an effort to preserve priceless tissue and bone, even though this form of the disease is more difficult to prevent and treat.

Periodontal Disease Relating to Systemic Conditions

Periodontal disease can be a symptom of a disease or condition affecting the rest of the body. Depending on the underlying condition, the disease can behave like aggressive periodontal disease, working quickly to destroy tissue. Heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease are the most common cofactors, though there are many others. Even in cases where little plaque coats the teeth, many medical conditions intensify and accelerate the progression of periodontal disease.

Treatment: Initially, the medical condition which caused the onset of periodontal disease must be controlled. The dentist will halt the progression of the disease using the same treatments used for controlling aggressive and chronic periodontal disease.

Necrotizing Periodontal Disease

This form of the disease rapidly worsens and is more prevalent among people who suffer from HIV, immunosuppression, malnutrition, chronic stress or choose to smoke. Tissue death (necrosis) frequently affects the periodontal ligament, gingival tissues and alveolar bone.
Treatment: Necrotizing periodontal disease is extremely rare. Because it may be associated with HIV or another serious medical condition, it is likely the dentist will consult with a physician before commencing treatment. Scaling, root planing, antibiotics, medicated mouth wash and fungicidal medicines are generally used to treat this form of the disease.