It is a group of conditions caused by bacteria on the teeth and gum line resulting in an infection. In the course of fighting this, the body produces substances which damage the jaw bone and the ligament around the teeth.
Periodontitis can be seen as an autoimmune process combined with an infection and if viewed as a single disease, is in fact the worlds most common one!
If the infection continues, pockets form between the teeth and gums, reducing bone support. Bacteria (plaque) then fill up the widening gum gap. Untreated, the teeth loosen and eventually fall out or have to be extracted.
Periodontitis is not usually painful and is therefore easily ignored or undetected. This sadly means that many leave it too late to treat easily.
Older adults are more likely to suffer from it, though it can start in the teens.
The principal aggravating factors are diabetes and smoking - lesser factors include- dry mouth and aggravated occlusion. Occlusion is how the teeth meet together. If teeth loosen they can drift out of their normal bite and be bitten on too heavily, aggravating the stress they are under, thus causing them to further loosen.
Symptoms of periodontitis:
- Reddened, swollen or bleeding gums.
- Receding gums.
- Loose Teeth.
- Bad breath.
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth.
- Movement/ drifting of teeth.
Variations of periodontitis that can occur:
- Gingivitis- highly inflamed (red) gums without bone loss.
- Simple- bone loss is even (Horizontal).
- Complex- complex bone loss patterns (Horizontal and vertical combined).
- Juvenile pattern- occurs in teenagers.
- AUG- Acute Ulcerative Gingivitis - the only painful variation with a specific cause and pattern.
We’ll be talking more about periodontitis in future blog posts.