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What is periodontal disease?
Diseases of the gingiva, alveolar bone and all tissues that attach the tooth in the alveolar bone are calles periodontal diseases. These are caused by bacteria entrenched around teeth, in dental plaque. This is why a major role in causing and in the progression of periodontal disease is played by oral hygiene. The gums are the first to be affected, and the disease is called gingivitis in this stage. If left untreated, the disease progresses, it goes deeper and destroys the bone structure in which the tooth sits. In some cases (advanced stages of the disease) it causes the spontaneous loss of teeth.
How can we tell there is a disease at this level?
The first sign that should worry anyone is gums bleeding. Initially the bleeding occurs during brushing or chewing, but after the disease has advanced, the bleeding will be spontaneous. A change in the colour of the gums will also be seen, either to bright red or red-violet. In some cases the gums can become enlarged and when this happens in a short amount of time and affects all gums, a dental medical doctor should be contacted as soon as possible. In some situations the disease progresses silently, with no obvious signs for the patient, bleeding can be absent (especially in smokers), and for this reason a check-up should be performed every 6 months.
There are several risk factors for the progression of the disease, but the one that anyone can see is calculus. It forms around teeth where the removal of dental plaque by brushing was not done appropriately, and it can be removed only by the dental medical doctor or the prophylaxis nurse, by performing a procedure named scaling.
Great care should be taken with regards to dental health by patients with diabetes, who are under higher risk of developing a periodontitis.
Romanian Society of Periodontology