What Is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis or periodontal disease. These are the same diagnosis.
It’s a bacteria-related disease which begins as an inflammation of the gums but will develop into periodontitis if the inflammation isn’t treated.
An attack by periodontitis will make your teeth come loose, and they may end up falling out because the bone supporting the teeth slowly disintegrates.
A healthy tooth consists of a crown and a root. The root is attached to the bone and the jaw with bundles of fibres called periodontal fibres. They ensure that the tooth and the jawbone aren’t in direct contact. Thus, the teeth aren’t resting directly on the bone but is attached with bundles of tiny threads, the periodontal membrane.
When a tooth is attacked by periodontitis, the bone and fibres of the tooth are eroded which over time will result in the jawbone disintegrating. Thus, the tooth will lose its footing and in time, the tooth won’t be able to handle the strain and may fall out.
Around 10 percent of periodontitis patients will develop a very aggressive type of periodontitis which will attack locally instead of the entire set of teeth. If you suffer from this type of periodontitis, the disease will develop much more quickly and more aggressively. Therefore, we recommend you contact us and receive treatment as soon as you realise the problem.
How Do You Treat Periodontitis?
There are different kinds of treatments depending on how serious the problem is. In light cases, you will be able to, following our advice, slow down or stop the development with better cleaning of the teeth, while advanced cases must be treated with a surgical procedure.
Periodontitis is caused by bacteria, and therefore we will begin, in all cases, by minimising the number of bacteria that your teeth, gums, and bone are exposed to. This means improving your dental hygiene, and we will show you how to brush your teeth correctly, as well as how to use dental floss or a teeth gap toothbrush.
Furthermore, we will do a thorough teeth cleaning to remove calculus and plaque. It’s important to remove calculus since this otherwise would make it easier for the bacteria to penetrate the teeth. When we remove calculus, we will, at the same time, minimise the bacterial coating and thus reduce disease-causing potential.
This treatment is often called periodontitis treatment, and we recommend that the treatment is repeated once every three months to stop the development.
Though the development is stopped by keeping your teeth clean, a surgical procedure may be necessary. This may be because there are coatings or calculus on the surface of the roots which can’t be removed with a cleaning.
In these cases, we will make a small surgical cut in the gums to be able to clean the surface of the roots thoroughly. After the operation, we will stitch your gums carefully.
It’s important that you rinse the area thoroughly with chlorhexidine the following days. The stitches will be removed carefully a couple of days after the operation.
You may feel slightly sore around the operated area in the following days. You may take regular pain medicine like ibuprofen (Ipren) or paracetamol (Panodil) if necessary.
If you smoke, we recommend stopping as periodontitis is worsened significantly by smoking. Smokers are also at a much higher risk of developing periodontitis compared with non-smokers, as smoking affects your immune system, thus making it harder for your body to defend itself against the bacterial attack.
What Happens After the Periodontitis Treatment?
You may feel like your teeth are slightly looser the first couple of days after the treatment but in time, they will feel firmer since the infection has been reduced. Your gums will become firmer and return to their pink colour, and the periodontal pockets become smaller since the gums are no longer swollen.
If the treatment is successful, you won’t lose any more bone, but the bone won’t rebuild itself, meaning the lost bone won’t return.
It’s essential that we continue keeping an eye on it, and that you maintain good dental hygiene after the treatment, or the disease may return – maybe even with renewed force.
How Do I Know If I Suffer from Periodontitis?
Signs of periodontitis may be bad breath, red or bleeding gums, or pus from the periodontal pockets. In time, your teeth will become loose, and in some cases, they may move because the bone keeping them in place is slowly disintegrating. Your gums will recede, and your tooth roots and tooth necks will be exposed. This may cause cold sensitivity.
If you’re in doubt, please contact us immediately for an explanation. If we set in early, we can slow or stop the disease.
How Do I Prevent Periodontitis?
It’s estimated that around 40 percent of the Danish population will develop periodontitis in a slight or high degree during their lifetimes. But you can do a lot on your own to prevent it.
Good dental hygiene is essential. Thus, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day with the correct technique, as well as use dental floss, toothpicks, or teeth gap toothbrush. Furthermore, it’s important that you keep up with your regular check-ups, in order for us to provide a thorough teeth cleaning on a regular basis as well as check the general health of your mouth.
However, some people are at a higher risk of developing periodontitis:
- Smokers are at a higher risk than non-smokers.
- People undergoing treatment with medicine that weakens the immune system.
- People suffering from certain types of immune disorders.
- People suffering from diabetes often develop a more aggressive type of periodontitis. This is particularly likely if the diabetes isn’t regulated, and the blood sugar therefore isn’t under control.