Periodontology is a field of dentistry which deals with periodontal and oral mucosa diseases prevention and treatment. It is sometimes referred to as parodontology. What are the main symptoms of a periodontal disease?
- bleeding and sensitivity of the gums on brushing and flossing
- presence of bacterial deposits and tartar
- bad breath and taste.
The symptoms described above are typical of gingivitis. If we additionally observe:
- atrophy of the gums and exposure of the teeth necks
- teeth mobility or tilting, or formation of gaps between the teeth
- purulent exudate (pus) from the gum pockets
it means that the disease is more advanced, and affects deeper tissue under the gumline; such a disease is called periodontitis. Detection of the above-described symptoms is not troublesome so why is periodontitis (commonly named parodontosis) so common? Periodontal diseases are chronic processes which may last for months, years or dozens of years. The characteristic symptoms first appear only in certain areas of the mouth, and their severity is low. It is easy to get used to them and treat them as normal. We often hear from patients: "I avoid brushing these teeth because then my gums bleed". This is a major misconception related to periodontal diseases because the real cause of the problem is, in fact, incompetent or ineffective cleaning of the teeth and gums, leading to inflammation (through which the gums try to fight microorganisms).
The symptoms of inflammation are swelling, tendency to bleed, and tenderness of the gums. Subjective decrease in bleeding, resulting from simply avoiding the sore areas on brushing, is illusive because it does not remove the cause of a problem. Lack of professional advice and correct treatment at that stage, and ignoring gingivitis may result with time in the progression of an infection inside the bone; its atrophy brings about tooth mobility and danger of a tooth loss. Clearly, treatment of an advanced periodontal atrophy is much more difficult than that of superficial changes, hence an early intervention is so important; prophylaxis of periodontal diseases is even more so. The reason for gums and bony lesions is an inflammation. A common name „parodontosis“ is incorrect. The disease should be referred to as periodontitis.
Gum diseases may affect adults aged 20 or 30, and some of its forms may also affect children. Research shows that gums diseases account for the most lost teeth after the age of 23. The inflammation results in a slow tissue atrophy. The disease developes hidden and the signs which may be indicative of it are bleeding on brushing and flossing, redness of the gums, gum recession, bad breath (halitosis) and tartar. If the problem is not noticed early enough, the bone surrounding the tooth is lost; the result is an increased tooth mobility and a likely tooth loss! Therefore a detection of the problem as early as possible is most important to preserve a beautiful healthy smile. Early detection of the disease guarantees succesful treatment which consists of:
- elimination of irritants
- antiinflammatory treatment (rinses, gels, pastes)
- surgical treatment to restore periodontal tissue