Periodontitis – gum disease – is inflammation of the periodontal tissues – i.e. tissue around the tooth – and leads to loss of the tooth. It is a bacterial inflammation due to the microbes that constitute the dental plaque. On top of this, several systemic factors may increase a patient’s susceptibility to periodontal disease, because the alter the host responce to the microbial attack.
In a generic population, 80% will be affected by chronic periodontitis, which is the most common. 8-9% will exhibit a particularly aggressive and destructive form of periodontitis, which leads to loss of teeth at a young age – before 50 .
Clinical signs and symptoms include inflammation, demonstrated as sweling, redness and bleeding of the gums, which get detached from the tooth surface and thus create a “pocket” – a slit space between tooth and gum. This space cannot be cleaned by the usual means of oral hygiene, and as such, is an ideal niche for microbial growth. Tissues shrunk further and gums expose the root of the tooth. The bone that supports the tooth in place resobs and the tooth begins to have mobility. The outcome, without treatment is guaranteed to lead to tooth loss and destruction of surrounding tissues.
Smoking, diabetes, genetics, immune system, play an important role in determining form and extent of periodontal disease. A correct treatment by the specialist Periodontist and excellent oral hygiene are critical factors in the fight against disease and maintaining your dentition.