What Is Periodontal Gum Disease

The term “periodontal” means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition which affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth; also the jawbone itself when in its most advanced stages.

Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. A bacterial infection affects the gums when the toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues.

Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone. If left untreated, it can lead to shifting teeth, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.

Types of Periodontal Disease

When left untreated, gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can spread to below the gum line. When the gums become irritated by the toxins contained in plaque, a chronic inflammatory response causes the body to break down and destroy its own bone and soft tissue. There may be little or no symptoms as periodontal disease causes the teeth to separate from the infected gum tissue. Deepening pockets between the gums and teeth are generally indicative that soft tissue and bone is being destroyed by periodontal disease.

Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease:

Chronic periodontitis

Inflammation within supporting tissues cause deep pockets and gum recession. It may appear the teeth are lengthening, but in actuality, the gums (gingiva) are receding. This is the most common form of periodontal disease and is characterized by progressive loss of attachment, interspersed with periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis

This form of gum disease occurs in an otherwise clinically healthy individual. It is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment, chronic bone destruction and familial aggregation.

Necrotizing periodontitis

This form of periodontal disease most often occurs in individuals suffering from systemic conditions such as HIV, immunosuppression and malnutrition. Necrosis (tissue death) occurs in the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and gingival tissues.

Periodontitis caused by systemic disease

This form of gum disease often begins at an early age. Medical condition such as respiratory disease, diabetes and heart disease are common cofactors.

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments the dentist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.

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Elise Mitchell
Elise Mitchell
2022-06-08
The Dentistry of Newburyport team is always so friendly and helpful. I look forward to my bi-annual cleanings here (:
Heather True
Heather True
2022-06-03
I’ve gone here for more than a decade because I love the staff! From the receptionists to the dentists, everyone is fantastic. My favorite person here is my hygienist Jamie. She is awesome, even when I show up on her birthday! I highly recommend their services.
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Larry Hill
2022-06-02
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HOLLY G
HOLLY G
2022-05-26
Dentristry of NBPT has a kind and caring staff they are always on time and keep you informed of your dental health. Jamie my hygienist is so sweet, I’ve been a patient here for about 20 +years. Great work done by great people.
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Justin Auger
2022-05-25
This was the best dentist I have ever been to. The Dr. Was amazing and super polite. I can’t wait to go back.
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Joan Cassin
2022-05-19
Jamie is always so considerate, kind, and professional. I always leave feeling good and know that I’ve gotten excellent care. The best.
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2022-05-05
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2022-04-21
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2022-04-11
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