Different Types of Gum Disease

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types of gum disease

Gingivitis (or gum disease) that remains untreated can progress into periodontitis and will eventually cause tooth loss and additional health problems—which is why prevention is crucial.

Types of gum disease

There are three different types of periodontal disease. Gingivitis, an infection of the gums, is the most common. It leads to the gums becoming swollen, red, and bleeding easily. There’s typically little to no feeling of discomfort at this degree, though gums may feel tender.

Gingivitis is normally caused by improper or less than adequate oral hygiene. As plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—builds up on teeth, that bacteria can flourish and begin attacking your gums. However, with professional treatment, like the assistance of Dr. G at Cottonwood Dental, and suitable home oral care, gingivitis is reversible.

Contributing factors to gingivitis include smoking, aging, diabetes, genetic predispositions, systemic conditions and diseases, stress, inadequate nutrition, hormonal fluctuations, puberty, pregnancy, HIV infection, substance abuse, and certain medication use.

It’s important to catch gingivitis at an early stage. Untreated gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, as plaque builds up on the teeth and under the gum line. Toxins generated by the plaque bacteria irritate the gums, causing inflammation.

As periodontitis advances, it becomes tartar. Tartar (also called calculus) is plaque that has hardened on your teeth. Tartar irritates the gum tissues further, triggering a chronic inflammatory defense where the body essentially attacks itself, and the bones and tissues that maintain the teeth are destroyed and broken down. Gums recede and pull away from the healthy teeth, creating pockets (areas between the gums and teeth) that harbor more bacteria and get infected.

With time, as the gum disease progresses, the pockets get deeper and more bone and gum tissue is destroyed. This stage of gum disease is called advanced periodontitis (the more severe of the two types of periodontitis). Usually, this destructive cycle has very mild indications. However, if left unchecked, previously healthy teeth can get loose and might need to be removed.

What’s more, both classes of periodontal disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) have been shown to increase your risk of other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, pneumonia, and cancer. Early detection and prevention is key.

Any time that your gums are red, swollen, and regularly bleeding—or if you notice persistent bad breath, gums that appear to be shrinking, or loose teeth—a visit to the Cottonwood Dental office for periodontal disease treatment is warranted. Call us today to schedule your next checkup! And please reach out with any questions about the three types of gum infections: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.


About The Author

Dr. David Giaquinto, DDS

Dentist at Cottonwood Dental

Dentistry is a profession that requires many layers of knowledge and training. My background encompasses three post-grad degrees along with a command of aesthetics and precision. Both of those are necessary when creating the great results that we promise our patients. Being a graduate of the University of New Mexico and Marquette University School of Dentistry has provided me with a launching point for my practice at Cottonwood Dental. My ongoing research… [Read full bio]