Periodontology

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is an inflammation of the gums. More than half of all adults in Germany suffer from periodontitis, the inflammation of the periodontium, approx. ten to fifteen per cent of which are serious cases.
But only a fraction is treated properly.

Alarm signals

In the case of inflammation, the gums are reddened, swollen and bleed easily. Layers of bacteria cover the teeth.
If left untreated, the inflammation migrates along the teeth into the jawbone – periodontitis develops, the inflammatory degradation of the entire periodontium. The gums become sensitive and retreat to the space between the teeth. The bones recede due to the inflammation and, as a result the teeth become increasingly loose.
Periodontitis is the most common cause of tooth loss for adults.
Periodontal disease is a serious disease that can harm the entire organism. Studies have shown, for example, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes.
Meanwhile it has been established that inflammatory periodontal diseases are a risk factor for other illnesses. Recent studies indicate that periodontal disease can trigger a miscarriage for pregnant women.
For diabetics, inflammation of the gums and the periodontium occur about three times as often compared to people without diabetes.

Causes

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria. The disease begins relatively inconspicuously and is rarely associated with pain. When plaque forms on the tooth surface, pathogenic germs surface in form of a biofilm formation, a network of bacteria. They produce toxins that enter the gums – the inflammation breaks out and progresses.
Calculus is also dangerous: it forms when minerals in the saliva harden the plaque – the perfect breeding ground for the inflammatory bacteria.

Putting an end to periodontitis with the right treatment

The secret of success in our approach is the reduction of bacterial contamination and the permanent destruction of certain germs.
In the hygiene phase, our dental hygienist completely removes plaque, calculus and the hard deposits underneath the gingival cuff in elaborate manner. This approach can take over multiple sessions.
In the next step, the root surface in the affected areas is cleaned mechanically (curettage), usually under local anaesthesia. The biofilm, the bacteria’s habitat, is destroyed in this process.
Even with the most precise plaque removal, particularly aggressive bacteria do survive. For this reason, antibiotics are given as an accompanying measure. In order to employ them efficiently, we previously carry out a germ identification in our practice.
In addition, deep gingival pockets – typical for advanced periodontitis – often require surgical intervention.
If a lot of bone substance has already been destroyed, modern periodontology is today able to stimulate new growth of the jawbone or to partially replace it with other materials.
The therapy aims at rebuilding the periodontium with various tissue regeneration methods (e.g.
with bioactive replacement proteins).
The last and decisive step is the optimal follow-up care with dental hygiene appointments at close intervals – without this, the treatment is almost pointless. This is because the biofilm can build up again in a short time period and the disease process begins from scratch.

How can a recurrence of periodontitis be prevented?

As a chronic disease, periodontitis requires lifelong dental care. Yet with regular check-ups and careful daily oral hygiene at home, there are good chances of recovery.
With the follow-up treatment at the dental practice, problem areas are identified early on and thereby many a tooth can be saved. Depending on the personal risk of the disease, two to four appointments a year may be required with our dental hygienist to prevent the recurrence of periodontitis.