Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Periodontal Diseases

Periodontal Diseases

What are periodontal diseases?

The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal diseases, also called gum diseases, are serious bacterial infections that destroy the gums and the surrounding tissues of the mouth. If the inflammation is left untreated, the disease will continue and the underlying bone around the teeth will dissolve and will no longer be able to hold the teeth in place. Generally, periodontal disease isn't painful, so it is possible to have it and not be aware of it. A dentist specializing in periodontal disease is called a periodontist.

What causes periodontal disease?

As with many other oral health diseases, bacteria and plaque buildup is often the culprit. In fact, plaque buildup (which contains many species of bacteria) is the leading cause of gum disease. Other factors that contribute to gum disease include:

What are the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?

The following are the most common symptoms of gum disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of gum disease may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a dentist or other oral health specialist for a diagnosis.

What are the different types of periodontal disease?

The different types of periodontal disease are often classified by the stage the disease has advanced to at the time of evaluation, including:

What are the treatments for periodontal disease?

Specific treatment for periodontal disease will be determined by your dentist based on:

Treatment may include any, or a combination of, the following:

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