Periodontal disease is primarily caused by bacteria which destroy the supporting structures around the tooth.
It is considered a chronic disease with a genetic predisposition and the main cause of tooth loss after the age of 35.
There are also risk factors directly associated with this disease such as smoking, diabetes mellitus and certain cardiovascular diseases.
Smokers are 2.5-7 times more likely to present symptoms of this disease compared to non-smokers. Bone loss can also be three times higher in smokers.
Giving up smoking and the response to periodontal treatment can improve a patient’s prognosis.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and is characterized by an inflammation of the tissue around the tooth. In its mildest form, tooth loss does not occur and treatment is usually successful.
However, when there is a loss of support around the tooth, periodontitis occurs. In these cases, bone loss is irreversible.
Before undergoing treatment a detailed clinical and radiological study is carried out in order to provide a clear diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan.
The main aim when treating periodontal diseases is to eliminate the inflammation and reduce the bacterial load as well as control the systemic and local factors which make the teeth more susceptible to the disease. The following steps are followed:
The patient receives instructions about daily oral hygiene with the aim of controlling the bacterial plaque. Scaling and root planing are used to eliminate the supra and subgingival calculus from the root of the tooth.
Surgery is used to either eliminate or shrink the periodontal pockets or to carry out regenerative and/or mucogingival surgery depending on the case.
Once treated, the periodontist (gum specialist) will advise the patient on their maintenance program which will include regular check-ups. The length of time between visits will depend on the severity of each case.
Although periodontal disease is treatable and in the majority of cases can be stopped, the treatment is only a success when there is full collaboration from the patient. Daily plaque control and regular check-ups are the only way to prevent disease and maintain healthy teeth.