Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a devastating infection that is actually the
leading cause of tooth loss for older adults. There are indeed different types of gum disease, all
of which result from similar bacteria and all of which can severely damage your smile. The good
news is that all forms of gum disease are treatable, so don’t wait to seek treatment!
Here are the different types of gum disease as well as what treatment your dentist may
recommend for each one.
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease and also the mildest. When plaque isn’t fully
removed from teeth, these bacteria can lead to gingivitis, causing inflammation and irritation in
Fortunately, gingivitis is the easiest form of gum disease to treat and can actually be reversed.
Your dentist will most likely recommend a deep cleaning to remove all the bacteria responsible
for your gingivitis. After this, proper home care and regular dentist visits will be instrumental to
keeping gum disease away.
Once your gingivitis has progressed to periodontitis, you’ll have a harder time reversing the
disease, but it can certainly still be treated. Chronic periodontitis happens when the bacteria
have caused pockets of infection in the surrounding gum tissue and your gums may be receding
from your teeth, resulting in the appearance of longer-looking teeth.
At this stage of gum disease, your dentist will likely still perform a deep cleaning to stop the
disease from causing further damage and prescribe antibiotics to help combat the active
infection. In severe cases, patients may need a procedure to help reconstruct the gum tissue.
Some people will experience an aggressive form of gum disease, in which the health of your
gums is compromised by the quick loss of gum tissue. This form of gum disease is very similar to
traditional periodontitis except it progresses faster. People who have a family history of gum
disease and people who smoke have an increased chance of experiencing aggressive
Your dentist will talk with you about your treatment, which will be similar to periodontitis, but
may require surgery to help save your gum tissue. Seeking treatment is important before your
smile is totally compromised!
In people who have compromised immune systems, death of the gum tissue may occur and
cause major damage to the ligaments that help hold teeth in place. This form of gum disease is
rare and is usually associated with another medical problem. Your dentist and physician will
work together to create the best treatment plan for you in the event that you’re experiencing
this form of gum disease.
If you’re experiencing red or bleeding gums, gum recession, or sensitive teeth, you could be
experiencing symptoms of gum disease. All forms of gum disease are treatable, so make an
appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to evaluate your smile. Since gum disease is
the leading cause of tooth loss, there’s a not a moment to wait!