What is periodontitis? Periodontitis is the term used to describe gum inflammation, which is the tissue supporting the teeth. The periodontal tissue is made up of the gums, the cementum and the alveodental ligament and alveolar bone. Periodontitis is a frequently occurring disease. It affects around 65% of old people who are over the age of 60. Several forms can be identified, according to how long it has been appearing and the progression of the disease: - Chronic periodontitis: This is the most common form of periodontitis. It progresses over a long period of time and mainly affects adults. It is characterised by the appearance of gaps. - Aggressive periodontitis: The progression is much more brutal. It displays a rapid breakdown of bone.- Juvenile periodontitis: This type appears very prematurely, and also experiences rapid progression. It is much more rare than chronic periodontitis. Symptoms of periodontitis Periodontitis often occurs after gingitivitis (gum inflammation) and spreads towards other tissues and is accompanied by bleeding gums. You may also experience: - loose teeth - receding gums - abnormal tooth movement - gaps between the teeth (black holes) - pain when chewing - abscesses which produce puss in the gums - bad breath These symptoms usually appear slowly as periodontitis progresses. It is therefore very important to consult a dentist as soon as you recognise some of the first signs. The most common feature is the impression of elongated teeth because of the reduction in supporting bone structure. Causes of periodontitis Periodontitis is a bacterial disease. It is often explained by poor oral hygiene which leads to the formation of dental plaque. If it isn’t eliminated through brushing your teeth, this can transform into tartar. This then causes gum inflammation (gingivitis) leaving unhealthy bacteria free to multiply and cause other diseases. Individuals who have a weak immune system are particularly at risk because they struggle to fight off multiplying bacteria. This is also the case for people suffering from diabetes, hormonal issues such as menopause or pregnancy or a genetic disease. Poor health, smoking and alcohol consumption, infection or obesity may also be factors that are worth taking into consideration in the appearance and aggravation of periodontitis. Treating periodontitis Treating periodontitis first and foremost involves a thorough cleaning of the teeth. The dentist will carry out a descaling procedure and radicular surfacing. This involves an operation under local anaesthetic which aims to eliminate plaque which has accumulated between the gums. If necessary, antibiotic treatments can also help to reduce the inflammation. In some cases, the cleaning process is unfortunately not enough and surgery is required. Several methods can be performed to repair bone lesions. This can include bone transplants or using a biomaterial inside the gum. Pay attention for this. Even after it has been cured, it is crucial to maintain a good level of dental hygiene to avoid periodontitis from happening again. Brushing your teeth two or three times a day with a soft toothbrush is also advised, in order to avoid irritating the gums. Using mouth wash is also recommended.