Any disease of the gums and the surrounding tissues covering the root surface of the teeth is referred to as gum diseases. They are also one of the common reason for early tooth loss and oral tissue damage.
We have listed the various stages in gum diseases / periodontal diseases.
The primary stage of all the gum diseases starts from gingivitis also known as gum inflammation. This stage is branched into the following:
- Gingivitis due to plaque deposition.
- Gingivitis due to other causes than plaque deposition.
Out of the two mentioned the first one occurs mainly due to poor oral hygiene or association of any systemic diseases while the latter occurs due to stress or microbial infections respectively.
The acute form of gingivitis usually presents with swollen gums, painful ulcerations of the gums, bleeding mainly due to poor oral hygiene causing the increase in the microbial count of the oral cavity. These often subside after 48hrs after a professional cleaning and antibiotic therapy.
The chronic form of gingivitis occurs as a result of a poorly treated acute form or frequent recurrence of the acute form in small intervals. This also serves as a precursor for periodontitis because gingivitis affects only the gum tissue while progression of the chronic stage affects the bone beneath it. The resorption or depletion of the underlying bone is the first sign of periodontitis.
Though the occurrence of this stage is rare at a younger age, they have increased occurrence after the age of 45. They usually occur due to increased microbial involvement in a severely untreated chronic gingivitis. Studies also state their association of occurrence in decreased immunity levels. Classified into the following:
- Acute periodontitis / Trauma from Occlusion.
- Chronic periodontitis.
- Aggressive Periodontitis.
Trauma from Occlusion (TFO) / Acute Periodontitis:
The acute form of periodontitis occurs due to inappropriate occlusal forces exerted beyond the limit causing a tissue injury thereby leading to TFO. For example, a new prosthesis or a dental crown and overfilled teeth causing an occlusal disharmony.
Thus, causing gingivitis of the margin of the gums surrounding the teeth, rupture of fibers holding the teeth, pain, and bone resorption. Treated by removing the hindrance in order to improve the self-healing of tissues.
It is the most common form of periodontitis usually caused by local irritation not only involving the gums but also the bone and fibers that help in holding the teeth in position. Formation of a pocket i.e. present in-between the tooth and gum is a characteristic feature of chronic periodontitis.
These pockets help in harboring bacteria for further progression of the disease. Usually treated by complete scaling & root planning followed by medications. Surgical removal of the infected and inflamed gums if necessary.
This type of periodontitis shows rapid progression with minimal deposition of plaque and calculus. They mostly affect the juvenile population as they are of genetic origin. This type often runs in families causing premature loss of teeth at younger ages.
If diagnosed at early stages the rate of progression can be reduced to some extent by maintaining good oral hygiene, medications and frequent dental evaluations.