Jefferson University Hospitals

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a serious infection of the gums that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The main cause of periodontal disease is plaque, but can also develop from heavy tobacco use, diabetes, stress, bruxism and pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, you are in good hands at Jefferson.

Our dentists were rated among the best in the Delaware Valley by Philadelphia magazine. Should you be diagnosed with periodontal disease, we will help you manage your condition and recommend the best treatment option.

Types of Periodontal Disease

There are five types of periodontal disease:
  • Gingivitis — The mildest form of periodontal disease, gingivitis is due to the long-term effects of plaque deposits. Its symptoms are bleeding gums, bright red gums, mouth sores and swollen gums. Gingivitis usually precedes periodontitis.
  • Aggressive periodontitis — Common features of this type of periodontal disease include rapid bone loss and tooth loss. It usually affects patients under 30 years of age who are otherwise healthy.
  • Chronic periodontitis — The most frequently occurring form of periodontal disease, chronic periodontitis is a chronic inflammation that is caused by plaque. It is most prevalent in adults but can occur at any age. Common symptoms are redness or bleeding of gums, swollen gums, bad breath and loose teeth.
  • Periodontitis — Heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes are often associated with this form of periodontitis. It's most common in younger individuals.
  • Necrotizing periodontal disease — This is an infection that can get worse rapidly, with distinct symptoms such as bleeding gums, significant pain, bad breath and a whitish film on the surface of the gums.