What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is defined as the inflammatory disease that affects the gums, the dentine of the tooth, surrounding alveolar bone as well as the PDL (periodontal ligaments). The early diagnosis of this disease is crucial because at an advanced stage, periodontal disease becomes irreversible thus resulting in the loss of natural tissue and structures. One of the most prominent features of periodontal disease is the formation of pockets of varying depth (depending upon the stage of the disease).
There is also marked recession of the gums, resulting in abnormal exposure of the root portion of the tooth. This recession eventually causes the mobility of the affected tooth and may result in tooth loss. One of the main causes of periodontal disease is gingivitis when it is left untreated for a prolonged duration of time. One can thus state that periodontal disease is one of the leading complications of gingivitis.
Types of periodontal disease:
Some of the most common periodontal diseases include simple gingivitis (the inflammation of gums), periodontitis (inflammation of gums, and surrounding structures of the teeth), and a condition known as acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease are both caused mainly due to the accumulation of bacteria that is capable of destroying mineralized structures. These bacteria produce initiate reactions that can cause the inflammation of the gingiva, thus resulting in the formation of pockets, attachment loss, recession of the gums and ultimately, tooth loss. It is important to note however, that gingival and periodontal diseases are not always associated with the presence of bacteria, but can also result from various changes in the hormones of the body, or due to several systemic disorders and diseases.
Treatment options for periodontal disease:
Dentists all over the world plan the treatment of periodontal diseases based on the stage of the disease that the patient presents in. If diagnosed in the early stages, patients are strongly advised to improve their oral health and hygiene regime. This includes the correct technique of tooth brushing, flossing of teeth (in order to release plaque accumulations from inter-dental spaces, avoiding sugary diet or establishing a proper frequency of the intake of sugar containing food substances, and quitting habits that can promote periodontal diseases, for instance smoking. Once a patient follows these instructions, it is possible to prevent the progression of the disease and the gums may return to their natural, healthy form once again.
In more progressed stages, dentists recommend treatment options such as root planning and scaling. Scaling and root planning are done in case of excessive build up of calculus (calcified matter) on and around the teeth. Scaling effectively removes calculus from areas that cannot otherwise be cleaned by tooth brushing. Root planning is frequently done in patients that present with progressed stages of periodontal disease because it is the most effective treatment for the elimination of calcified matter from the root portion of the teeth. Timely treatment of periodontal diseases can aid in the prevention of tooth mobility or loss.