Periodontitis : symptoms, causes and treatment
- Periodontitis: a complication of gingivitis
- What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
- Risks of periodontitis
- Diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis
- You may be interested:
Periodontitis is an inflammation of the tissues that surround and support the teeth, known as periodontium. These tissues include the gums, the supporting fibers called periodontium, and the bone in which the teeth are anchored.
Periodontitis is a disease of bacterial origin, which occurs most often when the immune mechanisms are weakened.
Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels
Periodontitis usually begins with an inflammation of the gum (gingivitis) that gradually spreads to the bone tissue, forming infected "pockets" between the gum and the tooth.
If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to bone destruction and loosening or even loss of teeth.
There are several forms of periodontitis and their classification has been debated for a long time. Specialists prefer to speak of "periodontal diseases", which include all periodontal diseases.
The most recent classification distinguishes gingivitis (more superficial) from periodontitis that reaches the bone.
Periodontitis: a complication of gingivitis
Periodontitis is an inflammatory infection of the periodontium: in other words, of the various tissues that support the teeth, including the gum, the alveolar bone, the alveolar ligament and the cement (tissue that covers the root of the tooth).
This infection is caused by bacteria that have accumulated on the surface of the teeth.
They are among the main constituents of dental plaque, which must be carefully removed with regular brushing.
If it is not destroyed, the plaque calcifies, forming tartar, which over time can get between the gum and the tooth, causing an inflammation of the gum called gingivitis.
A punctual and well-treated gingivitis is not serious in itself, but everything is complicated when it is a chronic gingivitis (permanent inflammation) or frequent recurrences of gingivitis: the inflammation can then reach the deeper tissues of the periodontium, causing a periodontitis.
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
The first observable symptoms are usually those of gingivitis: the gums are red, swollen and bleed easily when you brush your teeth or eat.
Sometimes they also bleed spontaneously. Pain is very rare at this stage. As soon as these symptoms appear, it is strongly recommended that you consult a dentist.
The treatment of gingivitis is much easier, faster (and much less expensive) than that of periodontitis.
As for the latter, the symptoms usually appear, unfortunately, when the disease has already advanced a lot, which makes the treatment more cumbersome.
Among the most frequent warning signs are the formation of purulent abscesses, receding gums (teeth are more exposed and therefore appear "bigger"), persistent bad breath and teeth that move.
Sometimes you can experience severe pain, especially when eating, but this is not always the case.
Risks of periodontitis
Many factors can increase the risk of developing periodontitis or accelerate its progression.
These include smoking, alcoholism, dietary vitamin C deficiencies, and various diseases such as diabetes, genetic diseases that weaken supporting tissues, or other conditions that weaken the immune system (e.g., leukemia, AIDS).
Certain drug treatments (e.g., antihistamines) and the use of braces are also risk factors.
Finally, special care must be taken with the teeth during pregnancy, since the hormonal disorders of this period increase the risk of developing an oral infection such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
This advice also applies after menopause.
Types of periodontitis
Among periodontitis, we generally distinguish..:
- chronic periodontitis, which has a slow to moderate rate of progression
- aggressive periodontitis, which can be localized or generalized.
Periodontitis can also occur outside of diseases such as diabetes, cancer or HIV/AIDS infection, for example. Dentists refer to periodontitis as periodontitis associated with a general disease.
Another way to classify periodontitis is based on the age of onset of the disease. Thus, we can distinguish..:
- adult periodontitis, which is by far the most common.
- early periodontitis in children and adolescents, which progresses rapidly.
Who is injured?
According to the source, it is estimated that periodontal disease affects, to varying degrees, 20-50% of adults in most countries of the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, based on 80 studies in more than 30 countries, that between 10% and 15% of adults worldwide suffer from severe periodontitis1 .
A recent U.S. study confirms that nearly half of adults have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis. The prevalence and severity of the disease increases with age.
The same study indicates that approximately 65% of people over 65 years of age have moderate or severe periodontitis3.
Aggressive periodontitis, which affects younger people, is more rare. It is estimated to affect 0.1-0.2% of the population in Europe, and up to 5-10% of Americans of Hispanic or African descent4.
Causes of illness
Periodontitis is a disease of complex origin in which two factors intervene:
- oral, harmful or "pathogenic" bacteria.
- a weakened or unresponsive immune system, allowing these bacteria to gain ground and multiply.
Several factors can contribute to the development of periodontitis, such as smoking, infections, poor diet, etc.
Periodontitis can also be a manifestation associated with certain general diseases, such as diabetes (see section "People and risk factors").
Hundreds of different species of bacteria live in the mouth. Some are beneficial but others are harmful to oral health. These bacteria form a film on the gums and teeth that forms plaque.
This dental plaque is removed when brushing your teeth, but it forms quickly and can solidify into tartar.
Within a few days, tartar can cause an inflammation of the gums called gingivitis. Gradually, if the immune system does not respond aggressively enough, the balance between "good" and "bad" bacteria will be altered.
Harmful bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivalis will take over the gums and attack them until they destroy the surrounding tissue.
This is how periodontitis begins. Each form of periodontitis is associated with a different type of bacteria, which makes the study of these diseases quite complex.
Diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis
In the gingivitis stage, a simple gum exam at the dentist's office usually diagnoses gingivitis.
A scraping session and careful and regular brushing of the teeth is usually enough to get the gums back to normal after about ten days.
In the case of periodontitis, a complete dental examination with x-rays may be necessary to determine the stage of the disease.
The treatment will be more or less complex depending on the severity of the case.
It is usually performed by a dentist specialized in periodontics and can include up to ten different sessions (several superficial scrapings, deep scrapings that require opening the gums).
Note that in the most severe and fortunately rare forms of the disease, a gum graft is also necessary.
Evolution and possible complications
Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is untreated and progresses. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.
Chronic periodontitis in adults evolves slowly over several years.
Aggressive periodontitis begins in adolescence or before age 30 and progresses rapidly.
In addition, chronic periodontitis is associated with prolonged inflammation, which has negative effects throughout the body and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, among other things.
You can also get digital health manuals on this topic at Amazon, WalMart, Costco, Sams Club, Chedraui, Carrefour, aliexpress, alibaba , MercadoLibre , Lidl, Aldi shein or ebay. Each of these manuals can be found in great online offers.
In big seasons they offer big discounts on health supplements.