Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are significant infections and the major cause of tooth loss throughout the world.
The stages of periodontal disease are:
Gingivitis: This is the mildest form of periodontitis. It is an inflammation of the gum tissues that surround the teeth, and is caused by bacteria which irritate the gums (see plaque). Gingivitis can sometimes be painless and therefore people may be unaware they have it. Although it may result in sore, bleeding gums, bad breath, and spaces between the gums and teeth (pockets), there is no damage to the bone at this point.
Periodontitis: If left untreated, plaque can travel and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads. Inadvertently, these bacterial toxins, as well as the body’s “good” immune enzymes involved in fighting infections, start to break down the bone and connective tissues that hold your teeth in place.
As the disease progresses, the pockets around the teeth deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
The most prevalent types of periodontal disease include:
Chronic periodontitis, which is the most common plaque-induced periodontal infection, and a major cause of tooth loss throughout the world. The extent and severity of the disease can be increased by several systemic factors, including poorly controlled diabetes, cigarette smoking, and stress.
Some patients may experience rapid progression, though traditionally this has been regarded as a slowly progressive disease. Treatment is targeted against the bacterial plaque, and the goal of therapy is to reduce the pocket depth around the teeth.
Aggressive periodontitis is characterized by rapid bone and gum attachment destruction. There tends to be a genetic component, so it can occur in more than one family member.
Periodontal Disease Relating to Systemic Conditions
Regardless of the systemic disease that frequently leads to periodontitis, a significant weakening in the ability of the body’s immune system to fight infections can be another result. Systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes are associated with this form of periodontitis.
Necrotizing periodontal disease
The highlight of this periodontal infection is rapid onset of pain. It’s associated with the development of ulcerative lesions around the gumline. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals who have systemic conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition, and immunosuppression.