Periodontology is a special field of dentistry which deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the tissues surrounding your teeth. It deals with the treatment of simple gingivitis, but it can also help retaining teeth that have become mobile due to wasting of the supporting structures.
Inflammation of the gum (gingivitis) and the tissues around the teeth (periodontitis) are mainly caused by plaque, but other external and internal factors are also implicated. Periodontologists treat the inflammation, stop the recession of the gum, and restore and regenerate dead periodontal tissues.
The most common cause of permanent inflammation is tartar. Tartar is a deposit of hardened dental plaque. If plaque is not removed, it turns into tartar due to the accumulation of calcium crystals in saliva. Tartar sticks to the surface of the teeth so strongly that you cannot remove them by simply brushing your teeth. It can only be removed by a specialist (dentist or oral hygienist).
- Superficial tartar – a visible deposit on the surface of the teeth. At first it is yellow and has a chalk-like consistence, but it becomes harder and more discoloured due to the accumulation of minerals in saliva. It damages the gum and the deeper structures as well, because it has a rough surface which cannot be cleaned, therefore it is always covered in plaque.
- Tartar under the gum – it is not visible, it forms in the pockets around the teeth and can only be detected with special instruments. It is black and hard. It does not develop if your gum is healthy. It does not induce inflammation, it is responsible for prolonging the inflammation.
Common symptoms of periodontal disease:
Factors contributing to periodontal disease:
- Bleeding of your gum, swollen, purple-red gum
- Trapping of food
- Gum recession, the neck of the tooth is visible
- Sensitivity around the neck of the tooth
- Loose, migrating, shifting teeth
- Bad breath
- Acquired factors: inadequate oral hygiene leading to accumulation of plaque and tartar. Improper tooth brushing, including heavy brushing when you rub the gum off the teeth.
- Local irritation: ill-fitting bridges, crowns and fillings with uneven edges can damage the periodontal tissues.
- External factors: Studies have revealed that certain medicines and chemicals can damage the gum. These include certain calcium channel blockers used to treat heart conditions, epileptic medicines, oral contraceptives, or medicines used after organ transplantation.
- Hereditary factors: Certain types of gene polymorphisms can alter the natural defence mechanisms of periodontal structures making it more susceptible to diseases.
Periodontal diseases are classified according to the American Association of Periodontology:
- Periodontal diseases
Plaque induced periodontal diseases
Non-plaque periodontal diseases
- Chronic periodontitis
- Aggressive periodontitis
- Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases
- Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG) and periodontitis (NUP)
- Abscesses of the periodontium
- Combined periodontic-endodontic lesions
- Developmental disorders and other related conditions