What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is the most advanced form of gum disease. This serious condition is the result of untreated gum disease. According to recent studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of Americans aged 30 or older have developed periodontitis. This means that currently, America is suffering from an epidemic proportion of serious gum disease. This is particularly worrisome because medical researchers have linked periodontitis to conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

Periodontitis is characterized by receding gums and the destruction of the soft tissues supporting the teeth. It often leads to tooth loss and the loss of bone as well. This condition develops gradually, so many individuals do not notice that they have a problem until the periodontitis is well established.

Periodontitis starts as gingivitis, which is a mild inflammation of the gums caused by the bacteria present in plaque and tartar. Gingivitis is characterized by red, swollen gums that may bleed when you brush your teeth. Over time, unless the bacteria is cleared away by brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings, the gingivitis progresses into periodontitis.

Although this condition is treatable, the treatments usually require advanced dental and surgical treatments. The treatments that dentists normally employ include root scaling and planing to peel back the gums and remove the bacteria that have collected on and around the roots of the tooth. In addition, gum and bone grafts can help replace gum tissue and bone that has been lost to periodontitis. Dental implants, dentures, and dental bridges can replace the lost teeth.

The best way to treat periodontitis is to avoid it altogether. Regular brushing and flossing clear away the harmful bacteria prior to they can form the plaque and tartar, leading to periodontal disease. Regular dental cleanings can remove tartar that has already gathered, preventing the bacteria from further damaging the gums and allowing the gums to heal.

Patients who suspect that they have gingivitis should work to enhance their brushing and flossing, and get a professional cleaning if they have not had one recently. A dental professional can instruct patients on proper brushing and flossing technique, if required. Individuals who believe that they have periodontitis should consult a dental professional as soon as possible. The earlier this condition is detected, the fewer teeth might be lost and the less gum tissue and bone mass might be lost. In addition, patients whose periodontitis is caught early may require less invasive treatments than individuals with advanced cases of the condition.

Dr. Markzar, Beverly Hills periodontist, can provide you with more information. This Beverly Hills periodontics dentist has extensive experience in this field of dentistry.

January 23, 2013 | Author: | Posted in Health and Fitness


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