Periodontology is the area of dentistry that is dedicated to the treatment of diseases that affect the supporting tissues of the teeth: gums, bone and periodontal ligament.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a disease that affects the tissues that surround and support the teeth (the periodontium) which include, in addition to the gum, the olveolar bone and other structures responsible for keeping the teeth firmly implanted in the jaws.
Periodontal disease is divided into two major groups: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the initial form of periodontal disease and superficial inflammation of the gum occurs. It is easily treated with full tissue recovery. However, if untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more serious disease: periodontitis.
In periodontitis, there is a destruction of the structures that support the tooth (bone and periodontal ligament) due to bacteria and, if left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. It is known that periodontitis is the main cause of tooth loss in adulthood, the main cause of these diseases being the prolonged presence of plaque and tartar.
Generally, these diseases do not cause pain, even in the most advanced cases.
What are the main signs and symptoms of the disease?
- Spontaneous bleeding or during brushing;
- red gums;
- presence of pus in the gums;
- increased volume in the gums;
- receding gums;
- teeth sensitive to cold;
- change in the position of the teeth;
- bad breath and/or bad taste in the mouth;
teeth with mobility
Is periodontal disease hereditary?
Yes. Although the presence of bacteria is always necessary, the severity of the lesions depends on the individual susceptibility of each one, which is a genetically determined characteristic.
Since we can do little to modify genetic predisposition, the way to prevent and treat periodontitis is through plaque control. People who have periodontitis, especially the most severe forms, often know close relatives who are also affected, which represents the family-hereditary character.
At what age does periodontal disease appear?
The most frequent forms appear in adults, starting around the age of 30. Generally, the younger the person, the more likely it is that a severe form of periodontitis will appear and need more care.
It is currently estimated that periodontitis affects almost one in two adults over 35 years.
What is the treatment?
The treatment involves, in the first phase, scaling down and root straightening and, in cases of more advanced periodontitis, there may be a need for periodontal surgery.
What is the purpose of periodontal treatments?
The main objective of these treatments is to eliminate the bacteria responsible and control the factors that increase the susceptibility to periodontal diseases, such as tobacco and some systemic diseases, creating conditions so that the disease can remain under control in the long term.
Periodontology also aims to treat the sequelae of periodontitis (bone defects) through regenerative surgeries, as well as to correct gum changes (gummy smile or gum recession).
Is periodontal disease cured?
No. The treatment of periodontal disease can halt the progression of the disease, but it cannot cure in order to replace the lost tissue. On the other hand, as periodontitis is a chronic disease, regular maintenance visits are essential. Otherwise, the disease may reactivate again.
How important are maintenance appointments in periodontal disease?
We know that the success of treatment depends on perfect teamwork between the patient and his periodontist dentist.
A patient with periodontitis should be monitored regularly. The periodicity between maintenance visits is defined by the periodontologist, based on the risk factors of each, in order to reduce the risk of tooth loss.