Periodontology – Understanding and treating periodontal disease
Periodontology is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases. The periodontium refers to the supporting tissues of the teeth, which include the gingiva (the soft tissue that surrounds the teeth), the periodontal ligaments (which connect the roots of the teeth to the bone), and the alveolar bone (which supports the teeth in the jaw or mandible).
Periodontal diseases are diseases of the periodontium and can range from mild gum inflammation (gingivitis) to advanced periodontal disease (periodontitis) that can lead to tooth loss. These conditions are mainly caused by plaque, a colorless and sticky film that forms on the teeth and gums due to the accumulation of food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not regularly removed through proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, it can mineralize and turn into a hard substance called tartar or calculus, which must be professionally removed.
Gingivitis represents the initial stage of periodontal diseases and is characterized by inflammation of the gums. The gums may become red, swollen and tender and may bleed easily while brushing. However, gingivitis is reversible and can be treated with proper oral hygiene, such as regular brushing and flossing, and regular visits to the dentist for professional scaling and cleaning.
If gingivitis is not treated, it can get worse and lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more serious inflammatory condition that affects both the gums and the supporting tissues of the teeth. At this stage, bacteria penetrate under the gums and cause an inflammatory reaction in the body, which destroys the supporting tissues. As a result, teeth can become loose and eventually fall out.
Treatment of periodontitis may involve deep cleaning of the tooth roots (subgingival scaling) to remove tartar and bacterial plaque from under the gums and, in more advanced cases, surgery to treat the affected tissues.
Prevention and maintenance of periodontal health
Prevention is essential in maintaining periodontal health. These are some prevention measures and proper oral hygiene:
- Regular tooth brushing – it is recommended to brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes, using a correct technique to effectively clean all tooth surfaces.
- Flossing – cleaning the spaces between the teeth and below the gum line is just as important as brushing.
- Regular visits to the dentist – the routine consultation with the dentist every 6 months helps to detect and treat early any periodontal or dental diseases.
- Healthy diet – avoiding excess sugar and carbohydrates can help reduce plaque build-up.
- Quit smoking – smoking can worsen periodontal disease and make healing more difficult.
Periodontology plays a crucial role in maintaining long-term oral health. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to regular oral hygiene and visit the dentist to identify and treat early possible periodontal and dental problems.
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