Types of Periodontal Disease East Point and Smyrna, GA

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Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive disease that affects the supporting gum and jawbone tissue. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in loose, unstable teeth and even tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the developed world.

Gum disease begins when the toxins found in plaque start to attack the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. This bacteria embeds itself in the gum and rapidly breeds, causing a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, it burrows deeper into the tissue, causing inflammation or irritation between the teeth and gums.

The typical immune response is to destroy the infected tissue, which is why the gums recede. The resulting pockets between the teeth deepen and, if left untreated, the tissue that makes up the jawbone also recedes causing unstable teeth and tooth loss.

Types of Periodontal Disease

There are many different varieties of periodontal disease and many ways in which these variations manifest themselves. All require immediate treatment by a periodontist to halt the progression and save the gum tissue and bone. Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease along with the treatments typically performed to correct them:


Gingivitis is the mildest and most common form of periodontitis. It is caused by the toxins in plaque and leads to periodontal disease. People at increased risk of developing gingivitis include pregnant women, women taking birth control pills, people with uncontrolled diabetes, steroid users, and people who control seizures and blood pressure using medication.

Treatment: Gingivitis is easily reversible using a solid combination of home care and professional cleaning. The dentist 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.

Acute Periodontal Disease

Acute periodontal disease is a severe form of gum disease. Also known as acute periodontitis or acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG), it’s characterized by inflammation and infection of the gums, which can cause significant pain and discomfort.

Acute periodontal disease is caused by a bacterial infection affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth. Factors that can contribute to the development of this condition include poor oral hygiene, smoking, stress, malnutrition, and a weakened immune system.

Symptoms of acute periodontal disease can include severe pain, bleeding gums, bad breath, a metallic taste in the mouth, gum swelling and redness, and the formation of painful ulcers on the gums. If left untreated, this condition can lead to tooth loss and other serious complications. Treatment for acute periodontal disease typically involves deep cleaning and antibiotics to control the bacterial infection. Pain relief medications and mouthwashes may also help manage symptoms.

Chronic Periodontal Disease

Chronic periodontal disease is the most common form of the disease and occurs much more frequently in people over 45. Chronic periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation below the gum line and the progressive destruction of the gingival and bone tissue. It may appear that the teeth are gradually growing in length, but in actuality, the gums are gradually recessing.

Treatment: Unfortunately unlike gingivitis, chronic periodontal disease cannot be completely cured because the supportive tissue cannot be rebuilt. However, the dentist can halt the progression of the disease using scaling and root planing procedures in combination with antimicrobial treatments. If necessary, the periodontist can perform surgical treatments such as pocket reduction surgery and also tissue grafts to strengthen the bone and improve the aesthetic appearance of the oral cavity.

Aggressive Periodontal Disease

Aggressive periodontal disease is characterized by the rapid loss of gum attachment, the rapid loss of bone tissue, and familial aggregation. The disease itself is essentially the same as chronic periodontitis but the progression is much faster. Smokers and those with a family history of this disease are at an increased risk of developing aggressive periodontitis.

Treatment: The treatments for aggressive periodontal disease are the same as those for chronic periodontal disease, but aggressive periodontal disease sufferers are far more likely to require surgical intervention. This form of the disease is harder to halt and treat, but the dentist will perform scaling, root planing, antimicrobial, and in some cases laser procedures in an attempt to save valuable tissue and bone.

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 an 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, antibiotic pills, medicated mouth wash, and fungicidal medicines are generally used to treat this form of the disease.

If you have any questions or concerns about the different types of periodontal disease and treatments, please ask your dentist.

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