Periodontitis is a condition also called gum disease and it affects the gums and deeper periodontal structure can be inflamed. The inflammation at the gum is reddish and the gum bleeds during normal brushing. The infection is a result of the bacteria which may have been allowed to accumulate on the teeth and the human body reacts against it. Even if this is a result of the defense system of the body, the inflammation caused can be serious. If it is not checked, the inflammation will spread on the gums and teeth and this will cause destruction at the periodontal ligaments and its supporting bone. This may lead to the loosening or even loss of a tooth.
What it is periodontitis?
This is an infection which affects the gum and bone that supports the teeth. It is a common disease and affects many people. Bacteria called periodontal bacteria are the reason behind this infection. The bacteria are found in the mouth naturally but they become dangerous if the condition is right for them to develop. This is when food debris called plaque starts to build up at the tooth but it is left on the teeth for long without being disturbed. This happens mostly on the areas that are not easy to reach while cleaning your teeth.
The dangerous bacteria will be able to thrive and then to multiply which produce a certain byproduct that will stimulate the defensive mechanism of the body and this leads to the inflammatory response into the gums. If the disease is not treated, it will destroy the bone on the jaw and the teeth may be lost. This is a gradual process which may happen for many years and when the problem is detected and then treated, it may be stopped. Some people, especially young adults, they may be suffering an active form for this disease and it may lead to early loosening of a tooth and its loss.
Why people develop periodontitis
A healthy mouth can have over 700 types of bacteria and most of the time, these bacteria are not harmful. They live in harmony. If a person fails to clean the tooth well, then there is a bacterial deposit on the gums which forms the plaque and this condition makes it easy for more bacteria to grow. As the time passes and the bacteria plaque cannot be removed through brushing alone, the mineral is deposited on it and after sometime, it will be a hard deposit known as tartar. When tartar develops, it will encourage bacteria on the plaque to develop and will reach to the root of the tooth.
The speed and the severity of how periodontitis develops, will depend on many factors like how many types and the level of the bacteria found in the mouth and how strong a defense mechanism of the person is. For a person who has a weak immune response, he will have a more progressive disease. Some risk factors like diabetes and smoking may weaken the defense of the body further and they can speed up how the disease progress. Some drugs like immunotherapy, vasolidating agents and antihypertensive can affect the inflammatory response towards the plague and a patient can be exposed to gingivitis. What it is more important, is to know that the periodontitis cannot progress if there is no bacterial plaque accumulated on the teeth.
Who is affected by periodontitis?
Some people are at greater risks of suffering periodontitis and for them, it is easy for the infection to advance faster. Some of the problem that put someone at risks is systemic disease like diabetes, stress and smoking. Other people who may suffer periodontitis are people who are older, women who are going through hormonal changes like menopause and pregnancy, obese people, vitamin C deficient people and these who are drug users.
With the right treatment and assessment, it is possible to stop how periodontitis is progressing. The most important thing to do is to get rid of the bacterial plaque which triggers the process and to practice the best oral hygiene.
- Oral hygiene instruction and advice: The benefits of the oral hygiene is reducing how many bacteria are in the mouth and reducing inflammation level. The dental practitioner can explain first what it is the cause of the problem and how the gums and teeth have to be kept clean.
- Professional cleaning: the soft deposit can be removed away of the accessible area of teeth and teeth may be polished or treated using fluoride. According to how the condition is improving, more cleaning and instructions can be given in the next visits. The next step will be for the practitioner to get rid of bacterial deposits with tartar starting at the root surface and on gingival pockets.
- Antibiotic therapy: in some situation, without or with microbiological evaluation, the antibiotics can be prescribed in order to work on the persistent or active gum infection which fails to respond to oral hygiene procedure.
- Corrective or surgical treatment: surgical procedure may be carried out in order to clean the plaque bacteria away with the deposits which are found under the gum in the periodontal pockets or at the root surface near furcations. These areas cannot be accessed by floss and brushes while the inflammation can persist at such sites if the bacteria had colonized them. By the use of the local anesthesia, the dentist will lift the gum and the root surface is then cleaned to remove the bacteria. If there is a bone loss, it will be treated by the use of regenerative treatment. Afterwards, the bone may be sutured back in the place on the teeth.
Symptoms of periodontitis
Healthy gums tend to look pale pink and they are firm. They fit well on the teeth. For a person who suffers periodontitis, he will have
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Purplish, dusky red or bright red gums
- Gums which is tender if it is touched
- Gums that may bleed easily
- Gums which recede away of the teeth
- Spaces between the teeth
- Pus found between gums and teeth
- Bad breath
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- The change in the bite of the teeth