Periodontitis, paradontosis (gum disease)

Periodontitis is a very common infection of the tissue and bone that surround and support the teeth).

Overview

Periodontitis is a very common infection of the tissue and bone that surround and support the teeth). It presents as a gum infection with bleeding, red and swollen gums. The infection leads to gum decay and can cause teeth to loosen and fall out. It is caused by an excess of bacterial plaque. Preventive measures include regular visits to the dentist and good oral hygiene.

Symptoms

Definitions

  • Infection of the periodontal apparatus: periodontitis
  • The periodontal apparatus (periodontium) consists of
    • Gingiva (gums, see “gingivitis” below)
    • Cementum
    • Alveolar bone
    • Periodontal ligament

Symptoms

  • Gum infection: gingivitis
    • Precursor/part of periodontitis
    • Swollen, red, cracked gums
    • Bleeding gums (e.g. when eating)
    • Sensitive to touch
    • Sometimes, leaking of pus from pockets in the gums
  • Destruction of periodontal apparatus: periodontal disease previously known as paradontosis
    • Gums pull away from teeth (teeth seem to grow longer)
    • Bone loss in jaw
    • Teeth become loose
    • Teeth fall out (if left untreated)
  • Uncovered, painful tooth necks
    • Sensitivity to cold air, sweets and beverages
    • Higher risk of caries
  • Bad breath (sweetish), unpleasant taste in mouth

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Bacterial infection
  • Excess of bacterial plaque
  • Plaque and tartar
  • Pockets in gums
  • Inflammatory response
Risk factors
  • Insufficient or wrong oral hygiene
  • Mechanical factors
    • Teeth grinding
    • Poorly fitting dentures
    • Piercings inside the mouth
  • Pregnancy
  • Advancing age
  • Genetic predisposition
  • General diseases

Further treatment by your dentist

Possible tests
  • Dental examination/check-up
  • General medical check-up, if necessary (underlying disease?)
Possible therapies
  • Cleaning of gum pockets
  • Removal of tartar/plaque
  • Early instruction about dental and gum hygiene
  • Various options offered by dental surgery
  • Extraction and replacement of tooth, if necessary
  • Treatment of underlying diseases

What can I do myself?

  • Regular and thorough dental and oral care
    • Cleaning of teeth (see below)
    • Mouthwash
    • Remove fur on tongue (tongue scraper)
    • Dental floss, interdental brush (1x/day)
    • Regularly replace toothbrush/brush head, etc.
  • Cleaning of teeth
    • At least 2x/day
    • After snacks between meals
    • Fluoride toothpaste
    • Fluoride gel (1x/week)
  • Regular dental check-ups (at least 1x/year)
  • Regular dental hygiene (dental hygienist)
  • Reduce consumption of sugary and acidic foods/beverages
  • Stop smoking
  • For acute infection
    • Rinse mouth with disinfecting and anti-inflammatory solutions
    • Sage/chamomile tea or mouthwash containing hexidine (pharmacy)

When to see a doctor?

  • Repeated bleeding of gums
  • Receding, swelling of gums
  • Toothache
  • Sensitive, uncovered tooth necks
  • Loose teeth, loss of teeth
  • Dental damage
  • Cavity/caries is suspected

Further information

Swiss Society of Periodontology (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Parodontologie)
www.parodontologie.ch

Synonyms

periodontitis, paradontosis (infection of periodontal apparatus), infection of tissue and bone supporting the teeth, gum infection, periodontitis, paradontosis and gingivitis, gingivitis, periodontal disease, gum disease

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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