Studies show that 8 out of 10 adults suffer from some kind of periodontal disease. Dental caries and its complications are not the primary cause of tooth loss as most people think. The major reason for tooth loss is periodontitis.
A periodontal disease can be simply defined as a chronic inflammation of the tissues surrounding a tooth including the gingiva (the gums), periodontal ligament, cementum and alveolar bone. The inflammatory process (periodontitis) affects and destroys the bone and supporting tissue which ultimately leads to tooth loss.
Periodontitis is induced by bacterial plaque that accumulates in the gingival sulcus (gap between the free gingiva and tooth), and in the interdental spaces. If plaque is not removed by cleaning (tooth brushing, flossing, and rinsing) on a regular, daily basis, an inflammatory reaction of the gum will result. The earliest and most common symptom of gingivitis is bleeding. If gingivitis is not treated, it may lead to periodontitis and extend into the connective tissue and the alveolar bone. The symptoms worsen at this stage - gingival bleeding intensifies, gum recession occurs, the roots of the teeth may become exposed (gums pull away from the teeth), tissues and bone that support the teeth become destroyed. Ultimately, the teeth may become loose and fall out or have to be removed.
Periodontal diseases have been linked to some risk factors which are: poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, heredity (genetic susceptibility), stress, general systemic diseases (e.g. diabetes, osteoporosis), older age, decreased immunity (such as those occurring with leukemia, HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy), poor nutrition, low levels of vitamins and minerals, hormonal changes (e.g. related to pregnancy or menopause), clenching or grinding teeth, overhanging fillings, certain medications, or substance abuse.
There are different progressions of periodontitis. The disease may develop slowly and give no severe signs of its presence, whereas in other cases it may be acute, aggressive, and with rapid progression of the symptoms.
At Dentalux clinics we pay particular attention to the diagnosis of every patient in order to detect symptoms early and take appropriate measures to improve the oral condition. We recommend to our patients consultation with a specialist (periodontist) and an appointment with a dental hygienist, who will remove tartar and plaque, polish the teeth and apply fluorides.
Scientific studies has shown that untreated periodontal diseases affect general health condition - they increase risk of cardiovascular diseases, incidence of neurological events (including strokes), diabetes, heart diseases, renal disorders or rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy complications (preterm births, low birth weights) - people who have periodontal diseases more often suffer from the above mentioned conditions.
Research also proves, that unless treated, periodontitis leads to the loss of approximately 1.28 teeth per year but the appropriate management can almost completely eliminate such risks.