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Overview of Periodontitis

Periodontitis refers to a severe case of gingivitis that has extended further to affect the soft and hard tissues that support the tooth. It is commonly referred to as pyorrhea and is a common cause of loss of teeth in young adults and older people.1

Untreated gingivitis results in an increase in the number of microorganisms and their products within the gums, which lead to destruction of the supporting tissues of the teeth. The affected teeth may eventually fall or may have to be removed. Periodontitis may also be an indicator of some underlying disease.

Sign and symptoms of Periodontitis

Periodontitis is characterized by a dull pain that is generally continuous and feels like the pain is deep within the bone. The gums may be swollen or may just be bluish red in color. Depending on the severity of the condition, the tooth may be slightly or completely mobile. Increasing gap between the teeth may be a sign of periodontitis.2

Periodontitis affecting a single tooth or a few teeth is referred to as localized periodontitis, while generalized periodontitis is the term used to denote the involvement of almost all teeth.

Treatment of Periodontitis

The type and duration of treatment for periodontitis varies with the severity of the condition and ranges from simple cleaning of the deposits on the teeth to minor gum surgeries. In case of mild conditions, thorough cleaning, which can be done by a dentist or dental hygienist is sufficient. However, long-standing conditions and those with severe diseases need a longer treatment by a specialist known as periodontist.

The treatment generally begins with the administration of certain antibiotics and painkillers. A thorough cleaning of the teeth is done followed by deeper cleaning under local anesthesia. The periodontist may place sutures in some cases to enable faster healing after completion of the procedure.

In case of severe bone loss, bone graft may be placed to aid in better support to the affected teeth. This treatment may either be completed in a single appointment or may require multiple visits to the clinic.

For the successful treatment, complete involvement of the affected individual is required. The dentist may advise the application of certain medicated gels over the gums or mouthwashes for gargling. Oral hygiene should be maintained well during the course of the treatment and also after the treatment is completed.

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Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: March 26, 2012