What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal diseases are infectious diseases caused by bacteria that destroy the tissues surrounding the tooth: periodontal ligament, bone and gums.
Periodontal diseases can be mainly classified into two groups: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a reversible inflammation of the gums. However, periodontitis causes not only inflammation of the gums but also bone resorption, and is considered, therefore, irreversible. This bone resorption creates spaces under the gums that are commonly called periodontal pockets. The periodontal pockets allow more bacteria to adhere to the tooth structure jeopardising the tooth support even more. This could lead to eventual tooth loss.
What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria. The space between the tooth and the gingiva is colonised by bacteria that form what we call plaque or biofilm. In the presence of plaque, the gingiva will react causing gingivitis. If we allow more bacteria to collect, calculus formation will occur allowing more aggressive bacteria invasion.
This will eventually cause periodontitis and bone resorption. There are certain risk factors for periodontal disease such as genetics, systemic diseases like diabetes mellitus or cardiovascular disease, smoking, immunodeficiencies, stress, etc.
How is periodontal disease treated?
Gingivitis treatment starts with the elimination of bacteria through a professional prophylaxis completed by a hygienist or dentist. It is key to devote some time to the learning of oral hygiene at home, making sure our patients know the appropriate technique and have the adequate instruments.
Periodontitis treatment starts with scaling and root planing (SRP). This procedure can be done under local anaesthesia and will eliminate all calculus deposits in the root surface. If periodontal disease is severe and residual pockets remain after SRP, a surgical procedure is recommended to access all root surfaces, debride them and reduce the residual pockets.
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Prevention of gingivitis and periodontitis are extremely important in Estoclinic. We consider that the best treatment is prevention: always! Consequently, we educate and instruct our patients in adequate self-performed oral hygiene at home. Also, maintenance at least once a year is key to prevent these diseases. In Estoclinic we will help you reduce all risk factors that contribute to the appearance of the disease.
What is periodontal maintenance?
Once the periodontal disease is under control and periodontal pockets have been reduced, patients are located into a maintenance program. Usually, periodontally compromised patients come for maintenance every 3-4 months.
During a maintenance visit, we update all the clinical and radiographic information, if needed, we carefully clean all tooth surfaces and we continue to instruct our patients on oral healthcare. These maintenance visits are of extreme importance to avoid the appearance of the disease again.