Periodontal disease is a microbial inflammation with local but also systemic manifestation. It affects the gums, bone, and other tissues that surround and support the teeth. It is very common (over 50% of the population suffers from it) and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Its mildest form is gingivitis, which, if left untreated, can develop into the most severe form of periodontal disease, which is periodontitis.
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis is an inflammation that spreads deeper into the tissues and is the progressive stage of gingivitis, where, besides gums, the bone surrounding the teeth is also affected. This gradually leads to bone resorption, relaxation, migration and increased tooth mobility, and ultimately loss of teeth.
The main cause of periodontal disease is the combination of microbes that are normally present in the mouth with the accumulation of food residues, which together form the dental microbial plaque. The absence of daily rigorous oral hygiene results in the proliferation of these microbes, their conversion to pathogens and gradually the appearance of increasingly severe inflammation.
The appearance of periodontal disease and its severity may be influenced by factors such as:
- Hormonal disorders, pregnancy
- Systemic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus
- Psychological factors, such as stress
- Diseases related to immune system failure
- Various medicines (antihypertensive, antiepileptic, etc.).
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
Symptoms of periodontitis include swollen and deep red gums, bad breath (halitosis), gum recession, mobility, possibly tooth migration as well as changes in alignment (tooth closure) in some cases. In conditions that have progressed, pus between the teeth and gums may also appear.
There are different types of periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis, that is most frequent and it affects mostly adults, and acute periodontitis that appears in young people affecting only 2% of the population.
The type of treatment is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature and severity of the condition. Treatment is divided into two major categories: conservative and surgical.
The conservative treatment involves removing the inflammation and dental calculus (tartar) through a ‘deep cleansing’ in 4-6 sessions and training the patient on good oral hygiene.
In our practice, conservative treatment is complemented by laser technique, helping to reduce the microbial population and thus ensuring faster and more effective treatment of the disease.
If the conservative treatment does not provide the desired results, then surgical intervention may be performed, aimed at more efficient mechanical cleansing of the inflammation and bone regeneration. The latter is performed by placement of bone grafts or membranes for guided tissue regeneration.
Periodontitis & General Health
It has been shown that chronic inflammation, which accompanies periodontal disease, may also be responsible for the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, especially in patients without any other causative agents. It can also be responsible for strokes, poorly controlled glucose levels in patients with diabetes, and birth of premature and low birth weight infants.
Importance of prevention
The occurrence and progression of periodontal disease can be prevented through the proper application of systematic oral hygiene (proper brushing, dental floss, interdental brushes, oral solution) and regular check-ups by the dentist.
It should be taken into consideration that often periodontal disease is present without any obvious symptoms, so a visit to the dentist is necessary at least once or twice a year.
When should you visit a dentist?
Healthy gums are pink. If they are swollen and dark red in color or bleed, then you should definitely see a dentist. If you seek medical attention in a timely fashion, you have a greater chance of reversing the periodontal health problems caused by periodontitis.
Following periodontitis treatment
It is normal to have mild tooth and gum pain after a thorough cleansing by the dentist or the completion of any other periodontitis treatment.
Removing all of those factors that were irritating the gums reduces gum inflammation. For the first 24 hours after treatment, there may be a slight redness and tenderness of the gums. Day by day the gums will return to normal.
It will take a few days until you have complete results and the morphology is restored. Bleeding will be significantly reduced and halitosis will recede. By the end of the treatment, the patient will feel their mouth clean and light.
For the treatment of periodontitis to be successful, there should be frequent communication between the dentist and the patient. The patient should follow the doctor’s advice, brushing their teeth, using floss or interdental brushes as well as following any medication the dentist may recommend.
Patients with a history of periodontitis should have a follow-up every 3 months to have their conditions checked.
Is periodontitis contagious?
There are indications for this but it has not been proven yet. Periodontitis, however, can be hereditary.
What is the cost of treatment?
This depends on the severity of the disease and the number of sessions required. For the cost of treating periodontitis, please contact our dental practice for all the necessary information.