Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal means "around the tooth", and periodontal disease is commonly a chronic bacterial infection. If Gingivitis (inflammation or infection of the gums) goes untreated, or the treatment is delayed, periodontal disease develops. It usually happens when the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. The term pyorrhoea is often used for advanced periodontal disease. The disease usually doesn't cause any pain until the teeth become loose enough to move when chewing or talking, or until an abscess (a collection of pus) forms. There are three easily defined stages of periodontitis: Early, Moderate and Advanced.

When a patient suffers from periodontitis, the teeth that are affected become loose, the gums swell and bleed and their breath smells bad. This usually occurs because the plaque and tartar builds up between the teeth and gums and then spreads to the bone under the teeth. An x-ray is usually taken to measure the depth of the pockets in the gums, this helps determine which stage of periodontitis the patient is at.

Early Periodontitis: This stage is when the plaque begins to build up around the gums and under the edges of the gums. This build-up causes swelling of the edges of the gums, causing them to pull away from the tooth and allowing bacteria to grow in this "pocket".

Moderate Periodontitis: results when Early Periodontitis gets to the point where the connective tissue periodontal ligament (this is what attaches the tooth to the bone) and 30-50% of the bone is damaged and lost. The bone starts to get eaten away by the bacteria and toxins, and this causes the gums to spread down beyond the top of the bone. Moderate periodontitis can still be treated non-surgically

Advanced Periodontitis is slightly more complicated than moderate periodontitis. At this stage the teeth start to get very loose, and may start to shift positions. Patients may experience pain when biting or chewing their food. Pushing on the gums may produce pus because the teeth are so loosely connected to the bone. This pus is a sign of an infection, and the pockets at this stage can be as large as 7 millimetres.

Other than very good oral hygiene the main treatment methods are scaling and gum surgery. Scaling can take several appointments and the gums may need to be numbed with an injection of local anaesthetic before undergoing scaling. After the scaling, the dentist or hygienist will monitor the size of the pockets to ensure that the treatment has been successful and the periodontitis is not getting worse. Gum surgery is needed only when the pockets are too deep for the hygienist or dentist to clean by scaling. The surgery involved making incisions in the gum tissue so that it can be pulled back. This allows the dentist or hygienist to see into the bottom of the deepest pockets, and the area can be cleaned much more effectively.

Related articles.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal means "around the tooth", and periodontal disease is commonly a chronic bacterial infection. If Gingivitis (inflammation or infection of the gums) goes untreated, or the treatment is delayed, periodontal disease develops. It usually happens when the gums pull away from the teeth and form .... read more


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