Periodontitis or an inflammation of connective tissue underneath the gums
Periodontitis is an inflammation of connective tissue underneath the gums, which causes the teeth to become loose or dislocated. In periodontitis, the bacterial plaque destroys the connective tissue fibres underneath the gums that fix the teeth to the bone. When the connective tissue is damaged, the tooth starts to become loose and, finally, dislocated.
Periodontitis is caused by advanced gingivitis. Smoking and poor oral hygiene expose the mouth to periodontitis, and poorly controlled diabetes is also a risk factor. However, anyone can suffer from periodontitis, which can be asymptomatic for a long period.
Periodontitis maintains low-grade inflammation in the body and increases the risk of heart attack and cerebral infarction. Untreated periodontitis may weaken the disease control of diabetes.
Periodontitis is preceded by gingivitis
Periodontitis is preceded by gingivitis, which is caused by hardened bacterial plaque, in other words, tartar in the gumline and between and on the surfaces of the teeth. Gums are red, swollen, sensitive and may bleed when brushing the teeth.
Gingivitis can also be totally asymptomatic. Regular dental appointments help in detecting gingivitis in time before it develops into periodontitis. This is the reason why you should visit your dentist regularly. You should book an appointment without undue delay especially if the gums are sore or red.
Symptoms of periodontitis
Periodontitis may be asymptomatic for a long time. It is possible that you only notice it when the teeth are already becoming loose and dislocated. Periodontitis symptoms include:
- bleeding gums
- bad smell and taste in the mouth
- the position of the teeth change
- teeth are becoming loose and dislocated.
Treatment of periodontitis
The treatment of periodontitis begins with a dental examination and cleaning of the teeth surfaces and gingival pockets. Deepened gingival pockets can cleaned under local anaesthesia. After cleaning, the teeth are allowed to heal for a couple of weeks before the following examination.
At the second appointment, the dentist checks if there are still deepened gingival pockets in the mouth. A microbiological sample may be taken from the gingival pockets in order to assess whether antibiotics are required to treat the periodontitis.
When the condition of the mouth is in balance, individual periodontal maintenance therapy including, for example, regular cleaning can start. The role of home care is crucial in preventing the recurrence of periodontitis. Oral hygiene must be carefully ensured and risk factors, such as smoking, should be avoided.
Learn more about Mehiläinen’s dentists.
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