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What is Periodontitis?

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   5 min     


Periodontitis - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment 

Periodontitis is known to be a serious infection in tooth gum that leads to the damage of the soft tissue. Besides, this infection destroys the bone that supports your teeth. It is considered as one of the most common oral health conditions which usually results from poor oral hygiene.  Since this infection is caused because of the poor hygiene, thus it can be said that it is easier to prevent it by inculcating some changes in oral hygiene. 

Healthy gums should be pink in colour and it keeps your teeth in place in a secure manner. If your gums bleed when your brush your teeth or touch them. 

What are the Causes of Periodontitis?

In most cases, periodontitis begins in the form of a plaque, which is a sticky film mostly made up of bacteria. If the condition is left untreated, it can eventually gets converted into the advanced stage of periodontitis. 

The progression of periodontitis is as:

  • Formation of plaque due to the action of bacteria on sugar and starch. Regularly brushing the teeth helps in removing the plaque. 

  • Formation of dental calculus: if the plaque is not removed timely, it can harden to form dental calculus or tartar on the gumline, which is more difficult to remove. 

  • Otherwise, dental plaque can also cause gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gums and is the simplest type of periodontal disease. 

  • Eventually, tartar or gingivitis can gradually lead to the formation of pockets which get accumulated with bacteria and destroy the soft tissues and bones. 

Risk Factors of Periodontitis 

There are a number of factors that increases the risk of developing periodontitis. Some of these factors include: 

  • Poor oral health habits

  • Older age

  • Smoking 

  • Chewing tobacco 

  • Obesity 

  • Genetics 

  • Gingivitis 

  • Certain health conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease

  • Conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Leukemia etc. resulting to decreased immunity 

  • Substance abuse 

Different Stages of Periodontitis:

Periodontitis can be divided into the following stages: 

  • Gingivitis: it is one of the earliest stages in which the inflammation around the gums is visible.

  • Early periodontitis: in this stage, as the gums become inflamed, they start moving away from the teeth forming pockets. The tissues and surrounding bones start getting damaged. 

  • Moderate periodontitis: the gums continue to recede and the teeth start becoming loose. In this stage one may feel pain and discomfort. 

  • Advanced periodontitis: in this stage the inflammation spreads beneath the gums and painful abscesses form. It is one of the major causes of tooth loss in adults. 

What are the Symptoms of Periodontitis?

Gum disease does not always cause pain, due to which you might be unaware that you are having it. Some of the initial symptoms of gum diseases usually include red and swollen gums, bleeding gums after flossing or brushing your teeth. This stage is commonly called as gingivitis. 

If the condition of gingivitis is left untreated, the bones and tissues supporting your teeth can also become infected. And this condition is known as periodontal diseases and periodontitis. 

Some common symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Swollen or puffy gums

  • Bright red, purplish, or dusky gums

  • Gums that feel tender when touched

  • Gums that bleed easily

  • New spaces developing between teeth

  • Pus between your teeth and gums

  • Bad breath

  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

  • Loose teeth

  • Painful chewing

What are the Different Types of Periodontitis?

Periodontitis usually begins when the toxins present in the plaque start to attack the soft gum tissues and causes damage to them. The bacteria in your teeth implants itself in the gums, also called gingival tissue and then causes infection at a rapid place. 

The following are some of the types of periodontal diseases and these forms are:

Chronic Periodontitis: Chronic periodontitis is one of the most common types of periodontitis that mainly affect adults. However, children can also be affected, but majorly, adults are prone to this infection. This infection is mainly caused by plaque buildup and mostly it affects adults. Besides, it involves slow deterioration that may improve and get worse over time. But, it results to destruction in bone and gums and if left untreated, may cause loss of teeth. 

Aggressive Periodontitis: It usually begins in childhood and it tends to affect families and causes rapid progression of bone and tooth loss if untreated.

Necrotizing Periodontal Disease: It is characterized by the death of gum tissue, tooth ligaments and supporting bone caused by lack of blood supply, resulting in severe infection.

Complications Associated to Periodontitis 

Periodontitis can lead to loss of teeth and according to some researchers, the bacteria are responsible for periodontitis that can enter the bloodstream due to the tissues of gum. Such conditions possibly affect your lungs, heart, and other body parts. 

Diagnosis of Periodontitis

Peroiodontitis is diagnosed by your dental specialist  by performing a periodontal examination. The dentist performs this exam by using a periodontal probe, a small dental instrument. This instrument is gently used for measuring the sulcus between the gums and the teeth. 

The diagnosis of periodontitis is done in following ways:

  • The doctor will review your medical history to identify any factors that could be contributing to symptoms.

  • The doctor will examine your mouth to look for plaque and tartar buildup.

  • X-rays are done to check for bone loss in areas where doctor observes deeper pocket depths.

How to treat the condition of Periodontitis?
There are various treatment options available for periodontitis like:

Scaling: It removes tartar and bacteria from tooth surfaces and beneath gums.

Root planing: It smoothed the root surfaces, discouraging further build-up of tartar and bacteria, and removes bacterial by-products that contribute to inflammation and delay healing.

Antibiotics: Topical or oral antibiotics can help control bacterial infection. It includes mouth rinses or insertion of gels containing antibiotics in the space between teeth and gums.

When to see a doctor 

Recommending the schedule for regular checkups provided by your dentist is necessary. If you notice any of the symptoms associated with periodontitis, make sure that you see your doctor as soon as possible. 

Tags:  oral hygiene ,dental health,periodontitis, dental, teeth, dental problems, oral hygiene

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