Periodontitis disease, also called gum disease, is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue. Without treatment, it can destroy not only the tissue but the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen and lead to tooth loss. Although the disease is common, it’s largely preventable as it’s usually the result of poor oral hygiene. Chronic periodontitis represents a major health problem in the UK. Surveys show that more than 50% of the population currently experience some degree of damage to bone or the soft tissues supporting the teeth.
Approximately 10-15% of the population losing a significant number of teeth as a result of chronic periodontitis. The more susceptible the patient, the more rapidly the bone loss progresses. In addition, around 1% of the population is susceptible to the aggressive forms of periodontitis. These patients can present with advanced levels of attachment (bone) loss and pocketing in their twenties or thirties.
Many patients do not immediately link their symptoms with gum disease. Other patients report concerns with bleeding gums, loose teeth, a lack of mouth freshness or discomfort when eating, all of which are associated with periodontitis. Early diagnosis is important for periodontitis in order both to simplify treatment and improve prognosis.
Aggressive periodontal disease
Aggressive periodontal disease is much less common than chronic periodontitis and generally affects younger patients. Periodontal disease can be split into two categories, localised aggressive periodontal disease and generalised aggressive periodontal disease. The progression of this form of the disease is much more rapid and patients often display a different pattern of bone loss compared to this suffering from chronic periodontitis.
Treatment for chronic periodontitis
Treatment of chronic periodontitis is highly successful in keeping teeth and improving both comfort and confidence. Non-surgical therapy is the foundation of periodontal care and can also be successful when the disease is thought to be unresponsive.
Several risk factors have well established associations with both periodontal and systemic diseases, such as diabetes, smoking, stress, immunodeficiency, medications, obesity, hormones and nutrition. For optimal treatment results, systemic risk factors must be modified or eliminated. Some are under the patient’s control (including smoking, stress, obesity and nutrition), and may, therefore, require lifestyle changes to achieve significant modification.
Maintenance for periodontal disease
Supportive periodontal therapy (SPT) begins when active treatment is complete. SPT maintains the health improvements achieved by the patient and is the long-term continuation of care. Most patients with periodontitis benefit from regular SPT, typically every three months, although this recall is dependent on health status and risk factors. SPT involves helping patients to maintain an effective daily plaque control routine and to overcome barriers which prevent the routine being effective. Monitoring of periodontal health is also an integral aspect together with removal of bacterial deposits and re-instrumentation of developing pockets.
When diagnosed early, periodontal disease is treatable. Bringing the gums back to a state of good health helps to prevent additional bone and tooth loss. For further information on chronic periodontitis please contact us here.