What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that is caused by the microbial flora in the oral cavity. It affects the structures that keep the tooth on the arch: the gum, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
The first phase of disease is gingivitis - inflammation of the gums, followed - if left untreated - by inflammation migration to deep structures.” During gingivitis besides a feeling of discomfort and itching there is also bleeding caused by teeth brushing and chewing.
How does periodontal disease evolve?
Gradually, the gums together with the bone support "retract”. That leads to increased teeth mobility and increased visibility of roots. When left untreated teeth are then spontaneously expelled from the arch.
Factors related to gingivitis:
- Improper oral hygiene
- Dental tartar
- Occlusion problems
- Untreated cavities
- certain health conditions (eg: diabetes)
- Puberty, pregnancy
Best treatment for periodontal disease is early age proactive prophylaxis.
Prophylaxis plays a key role in preventing gum disease. Here are few tips:
- Good oral hygiene
- Periodic descaling followed by professional brushing and air flow
- Dental treatments for whenever is needed, with no unnecesary delay
- Maintaining a good general health
- Reducing or quitting smoking
- A balanced lifestyle
When disease has already set in, specific dental treatments must be
performed by qualified personnel:
- Local applications of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory substances
- General antibiotic treatment
- Chemical cauterization with OTC
- Surgical interventions (periodontal curettage, flap interventions)
Maintenance treatments can be performed when disease is stabilised:
After stabilization of the disease, maintenance treatments can be applied, such as:
- Laser therapy.
Tartar versus periodontal disease
Tartar is the end result of mineralized bacterial plaque and has a rough consistency. Tartar adheres to any solid dental surfaces above or under gingiva.
Most common areas:
- the lingual surface of the lower incisors
- the vestibular surface of the upper molars
- the occlusal surface of the lateral teeth.
Over time, the consistency and adhesion of supragingival tartar increase, and the color turns to dark brown, by impregnation with pigments from food or hydrocarbons and nicotine in smokers.
The first sign that something is wrong is the appearance of bright red gums that can bleed when touched.
Yes it is. It happens when increasing amounts of bacteria is collected in the gingival sac creating inflammation and thus gingivitis.
Not much can be done when disease is in an advanced stage. By this time probably most of the tissue that holds teeth to the jaw is damaged, periodontal pockets are deeper than 6 mm and bleed. Teeth are more exposed, move and eventually fall out.