Types of Gum Disease

If your dentist has told you that you have periodontal disease, rest assured that you are one of many. The majority of adults in the United States presently have some type of gum disease. Periodontal conditions vary from a mild inflammation of the gums to a more severe form of the disease that causes extensive injury to the bones and soft tissue that hold your teeth in place. 

In the most extreme circumstances, your teeth will fall out. Whether or not your periodontal disease is prevented, delayed, or takes a turn for the worse depends in no small part on how thoroughly you take care of your gums and teeth each day, from the time of your diagnosis.

What causes gum disease? Types of Gum Disease

The human mouth is riddled with bacteria. These bacteria, in addition to mucus and other particles, continually produce a colorless, sticky, plaque on the surfaces of your teeth. Brushing and flossing are the principal means of removing that plaque. If plaque is permitted to remain on the surfaces of teeth, it could strengthen and turn into tartar; something brushing and flossing won’t be able to remove. Nothing short of professional cleaning by a dental hygienist will get rid of tartar build-up.


The longer tartar and plaque remain on the teeth, the more dangerous they are. The bacteria are able to cause swelling of the gums which is known as gingivitis. When a person suffers from gingivitis, their gums turn red, they swell, and will typically bleed with little to no provocation. 

Gingivitis is a common and early warning sign of gum disease that is often able to be treated with daily flossing and brushing, and routine cleanings by a dentist. This type of gum disease will not involve the loss of any bone or of the soft tissues that keep your teeth in position. 


When gingivitis remains untreated, it will then progress into the gums swelling around the tooth known as periodontitis. When a person is suffering from periodontitis, their gums recede from the teeth and make spaces referred to as pockets. These pockets can quickly grow infected. Your body’s immune system attacks the bacteria as the amount of plaque increases and starts to develop underneath the gums. 

Bacterial toxins and the body’s typical reaction to the presence of infection will begin to eat away at the bone and soft connective tissue that keep the teeth in place. If left untreated, the gums, soft tissue, and bone that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed. 

Who Can Get Gum Disease? 

People do not typically exhibit symptoms of gum disease until they are in their 30s or 40s. Men are more prone to developing gum disease than women. Despite the fact that teenagers seldom have periodontitis, they are able to have gingivitis, a less severe kind of gum disease. Most frequently, gum disease begins when tartar goes unchecked and develops into a plaque that is left to develop at and underneath the gum line. 

Your teeth have to be properly maintained if you want to keep your smile both beautiful and functional. The preventative dentistry treatments offered by Curtis L. Chan, DDS in his Del Mar office will help you establish the optimal oral health care routine you need to make sure your teeth remain healthy and strong. For more information on preventative dentistry and your oral health, contact our San Diego office at (858) 481-9090 to schedule an appointment.


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