What to do with periodontitis
Periodontitis is a chronic bacterial inflammation of the tooth bed. The common disease periodontitis is widespread – around eleven million people suffer from it in Germany alone. The success of a periodontal treatment does not depend solely on the dentists treating you. Those affected must also take action, which is why education about this disease is particularly important.
The German Society for Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine eV (DGZMK) and the German Dental Association (BZÄK) recently updated the information for patients about periodontitis. In-depth scientific information on the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease was presented in a brief Overview summarized.
Periodontal disease can have serious consequences
In the course of the disease, the jawbone usually becomes inflamed, which slowly breaks down bone mass. As a result, deep gum pockets develop and the teeth increasingly lose their hold. This slowly progressing process is largely painless, which is why many people do not treat periodontitis until late.
After the age of 45, such chronic inflammation is the most common cause of tooth loss. The effects do not only affect the oral cavity. The constant bacterial load is considered a risk factor for Heart disease and type 2Diabetes.
Risk factors for the development of periodontal disease
In addition to poor oral hygiene, there are a number of risk factors for the development of periodontal disease, according to DGZMK and BZÄK. These include above all smoking, being overweight and Stress as well as a family disposition.
Warning signs of the presence of periodontal disease
Since periodontitis is mostly painless, the disease is often recognized late. The following symptoms indicate the presence of periodontitis:
How is periodontal disease diagnosed?
During dental check-ups, suspected periodontal disease can be examined using the so-called Periodontal Screening Index (PSI). To do this, the dentist drives a special probe over the gums to check the state of health. The costs for this measure are covered by the statutory health insurance every two years. If the PSI is abnormal, further examinations may be necessary, such as a systematic analysis of the gingival pocket depth and an x-ray of the jaw.
How is periodontal disease treated?
Periodontitis is not completely curable. However, the progression can be stopped or massively slowed down. The aim of periodontal treatment is to stop the inflammation in the tissue around the tooth root in order to prevent further breakdown of the jawbone. In addition to prophylaxis sessions with professional cleaning of the teeth, detailed oral hygiene instructions are also provided for daily oral hygiene. In this way, the superficial degree of inflammation of the gums is usually significantly reduced.
Treatment of moderate cases
Depending on the severity, careful cleaning of the recessed gum pockets under local anesthesia is carried out in further sessions. In some cases this treatment step is supported by the administration of antibiotics. In moderately severe cases, this can achieve freedom from inflammation.
Treatment of severe periodontal disease
If the above methods do not show the desired effect, further measures may be necessary. In a small operation, the gum pockets are then opened and treated precisely. Biofilms and tartar as well as inflamed tissue are removed from the pockets. In this context, bone defects can also be treated with special tissue engineering methods.
Prevent a return
Since periodontitis is a chronic disease, controls and personal initiative must ensure that the inflammation does not spread again. In addition to dental floss or interdental toothbrushes, regular checks in the dental practice with two to four appointments per year are required. (vb)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
Diploma-Editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- German Medical Association: Patient information periodontal treatment (as of August 2020), bzaek.de
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.