What is periodontal Disease?
Know your risk for periodontal disease
- Periodontal disease is chronic inflammation of the periodontium surrounding the teeth, If left untreated, this inflammation could lead to destruction of the periodontal ligament and supporting bone, and ultimately tooth loss. It is estimated that up to 75% of tooth loss in adults is due to periodontal disease.
- Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease, and is characterized by gingival redness and edema, but the absence of periodontal attachment loss. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and proper home teeth cleaning techniques. However, in some individuals, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, which is characterized by periodontal attachment loss, bone loss, movement of the teeth, and tooth loss.
- Overall, periodontal disease is caused by overgrowth of harmful oral bacteria species, which reflects an imbalance of the oral microbiome community: a shift from health-associated bacterial species to periodontitis-associated bacterial species.
Progression from a healthy mouth to periodontitis
CURRENT CLINICAL MANAGEMENT OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Clinical diagnosis of periodontal disease includes evaluation of symptoms, radiographs to evaluate bone loss, and measurement of gingival pocket depth and attachment loss. Potential symptoms include persistent bad breath, red and swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, painful chewing, loose teeth, sensitive teeth, and receding gums or longer appearing teeth.
Periodontal disease treatment focuses on the control of bacterial overgrowth. Gingivitis can be reversed with thorough daily brushing and flossing and regular 6 month cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist. Periodontitis is not reversible, but can be controlled in most cases by deep cleaning (scaling) and root planning followed by periodontal maintenance cleanings every 3 months. Medication, mainly antimicrobial rinses and antibiotics, can be prescribed to help control bacterial growth. Patients with moderate to severe periodontitis are referred to periodontists for specialized treatments, including periscope, flap surgery, and bone and tissue grafting. The most recent developments in periodontal disease treatment involve lasers to remove bacterial deposits.