What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a disease caused by plaque bacteria that leads to an exaggerated inflammatory response in some people. The inflammation that occurs in these people, instead of leading to gingivitis alone, progresses to the other supporting structures of the teeth. This results in decreased support for the tooth, loss of bone around the teeth and if left untreated, may result in loss of the tooth. Although only some teeth may be affected, it is more common for most of the teeth in the mouth to be involved to differing extents. The condition is not usually painful and is very common, being one of the most common chronic (ongoing over a long period) bacterial conditions in humans. Periodontitis, if managed early enough, can usually be arrested, preventing the further loss of support. Professional intervention is required to manage the condition as homecare alone will not stop the progression of the disease. Treatment is centred around reducing the number of harmful bacteria and controlling factors that increase the inflammatory response (e.g., cigarette smoking and Diabetes). Occasionally, it may be possible to regenerate some of the lost supporting tissues around certain teeth. As the type of inflammatory response is often genetically determined, even when successfully controlled, the disease requires an ongoing level of maintenance care, to prevent further breakdown.