The branch of dentistry that deals with prophylactics and the treatment of peridontium diseases, which affect the gingiva (gums) and the tissues surrounding and supporting the structure of the teeth.
If we do not brush our teeth, or do it carelessly and imprecisely, a soft deposit in the form of plaque accumulates on the tooth surface and adheres to it. The bacteria it contains multiply, which leads to the formation of the plaque. Microbial plaque that remains in the oral cavity long enough will eventually calcify and become calculus, commonly known as tartar. The collected tartar is pushed from the supragingival (along the gumline) area under the gums, which become swollen and red. The gums recede and deep pockets between teeth and gums are formed. The infection moves to all tooth-surrounding tissues and damages the bone too.
Signs and symptoms:
- Redness and bleeding of gums while brushing teeth or using dental floss
- Persistent halitosis (bad breath) and bad taste in the mouth
- Dental plaque – bacteria accumulation and calculus
- Inflammation of the gums, bones and periodontal membrane
- Bad (incorrect) or poor oral hygiene habits
- Poor nutrition – diet low in vitamins and minerals
- Tobacco smoking
- Badly adjusted crowns or prosthetics
- Some medication used to treat e.g. epilepsy and hypertension
- Untreated bite defects
- Hormonal disorders
- Several systemic conditions and diseases including diabetes and osteoporosis
In many cases periodontal treatment may be successful due to quick, professional, and pain free procedures involving non-surgical cleaning and removal of subgingival and supragingival microbial plaque from teeth (scaling).
Gum diseases adversely affect systemic diseases. Untreated, they leave a trail of destruction throughout the whole body.
Bacteria travel from the mouth cavity and enter the blood stream. The list of diseases they cause is extensive. They intensify processes within blood vessels, leading to sclerosis. A link between periodontal disease and heart arrest and strokes has also been documented.