Also called “periodontal disease”, periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss. Quite common, periodontitis is a disease that affects 10% of the European population. Knowing it allows you to prevent it and know what to do when it occurs. Here is everything to know about periodontitis, its causes and symptoms, and periodontitis treatment.
Periodontitis is an inflammation of the periodontal tissues. These tissues are those that surround the teeth and help support them. Of infectious origin, this disease mainly affects the alveolar bone, which holds the teeth in the maxillary arch, as well as the gums.
But it can go so far as to affect the alveolar ligament and the cementum, which are the other constituents of the periodontium. Periodontitis is the consequence of untreated gingivitis and the damage it causes is irreversible.
Causes and symptoms of periodontitis
Periodontitis is caused by bacteria. First, there are bacteria naturally present in the oral cavity and which are called commensal bacteria. We find, secondly, bacteria coming from the outside. They are called periodontopathogenic bacteria.
Either of these bacteria is likely to cause periodontitis. Commensal bacteria lead to periodontitis when they are abnormally high in the oral cavity. As for periodontopathogenic bacteria, their mere appearance is enough to cause periodontitis.
- Plaque and tartar: The formation of plaque, a sticky substance composed of bacteria, saliva and food particles, is the main trigger of periodontitis and black teeth. If plaque is not regularly removed through thorough dental care, it can solidify into tartar, which can only be removed through professional dental cleanings.
- Smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for periodontitis. Tobacco consumption impairs blood flow to the gums, reduces immune defenses and slows down the healing process.
- Genetic predisposition: Genetic predisposition can influence susceptibility to periodontitis. People whose parents suffered from periodontal disease or other gum diseases may be at higher risk of developing the disease.
- Systemic diseases: Diseases such as diabetes can increase the risk of periodontal disease because they can impair immune function and make recovery difficult.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy and menopause can make gums more susceptible to inflammation and increase the risk of periodontal disease.
- Poor diet: An unbalanced diet, including a lack of vitamin C and other important nutrients, can affect gum health.
Periodontitis begins with the development of dental plaque and tartar. The latter, present between the teeth and gums, gradually destroy the epithelial attachment.
This is like a seal between the tooth and the gum. This results in swelling and bleeding of the gums. At this stage, the teeth become loose and the patient develops bad breath. His gums also turn bright red and become very sensitive.
When this inflammation of the gum tissue is not treated, plaques and tartars spread to the roots of the teeth. They then attack the entire supporting structure of the tooth.
This can cause gum recession and bone loss. As the disease progresses, the loose teeth experience greater mobility and tilt outward. Chewing also becomes more difficult.
It is important to note that cases of periodontitis are rarely painful. There is usually only pain in two cases. The first is a loosening of the teeth serious enough to cause their mobility during chewing. The second is an accumulation of pus in the periodontal pockets.
Are there any risk factors?
The risk of developing periodontitis is not equal for everyone. Certain factors are likely to influence immune defenses. If applicable, they contribute to the disease progressing more quickly and making it more serious. There are mainly seven of them.
- A number of pathologies including acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and diabetes;
- Genetics (periodontitis develops in certain families than others);
- Stress ;
- Emotional distress;
- Taking certain medications (anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, etc.);
- Vitamin C deficiency.
What are the possible treatments ?
It constitutes the first step in periodontitis treatment. In some cases, this cleaning alone is enough to stop the disease. Its primary purpose is to eliminate dental plaques and bacteria present in the oral cavity and soft tissues.
Its second objective is to facilitate the healing of periodontal pockets. This type of treatment is called scaling and root planing of bone and tissue. It is carried out under local anesthesia and requires the use of ultrasound devices or manual curettes. Generally, it takes one or two sessions to remove plaques and bacteria.
Note that for the treatment to be successful, it must be accompanied by good oral hygiene. Flossing, brushing your teeth at regular intervals and mouthwashes are therefore essential.
Periodontal surgery is considered when cleaning the teeth has not been enough to stop the progression of the disease. Fortunately, this type of periodontitis treatment is only necessary in approximately 10% of cases.
Periodontal treatments by surgery aim to remove tartar that could not be removed by root planing. To do this, the doctor incises the gum and deeply cleans the diseased tooth. In cases where the damage to the bone is particularly significant, reconstructive surgery is offered. The dental surgeon can use different techniques: gum grafts, bone grafts, biomaterials, etc.
Use of antibiotics
This type of periodontitis treatment is chosen when the condition is chronic. It is generally used as a supplement. The dental surgeon can prescribe such treatment to two patient profiles:
- patients with a heart problem or type 2 diabetes,
- patients prone to recurrence.
How to prevent periodontitis?
Preventing periodontitis requires good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth must be regular and done correctly; but not only. It is also recommended to visit the dentist once or twice a year. For all those who have undergone orthodontic treatment, the situation is completely different.
They are required to visit the dentist once every six months at most and have regular dental check-ups. They will be given a complete examination each time.
Do you have periodontitis? Do you have questions about its causes and periodontitis treatment? Then contact the staff of our dental clinic in Turkey – Cosmedica Dental. We can help you and prevent the disease at an early stage!