The two major forms of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis, if not properly treated, in some individuals will develop into the more advanced and destructive periodontitis, which involves loss of gum and bone around the teeth. Both forms require immediate attention.
The patient should be made aware of the connection between periodontal diseases and increasing risks of other health issues. Pregnant patients should be made aware that uncontrolled periodontal disease has the potential to complicate the pregnancy. Other diseases that can be caused or exacerbated by untreated periodontal disease are heart disease, stroke, cancer, pulmonary disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Physicians use risk assessment to develop prevention schemes for their patients. A good example is obese patients, who are at a higher risk of developing diabetes or heart disease: The prevention scheme would be weight loss and cholesterol-lowering drugs. In a similar manner, risk assessment is required to improve oral health and especially to reduce inflammation.