Periodontics (or periodontology) involves the prevention and diagnosis of periodontal diseases that affect the peripheral, supporting structures and tissues of the teeth such as the gums. Besides repair, it also aids in the function, health and aesthetic preservation of the support substitutes.
There are broadly two groups of periodontal diseases
Gingivitis: Characterized by inflammatory abnormalities of the gingiva, gingivitis involves the epithelial tissue that surrounds the cervical portion and alveolar processes of the teeth. It appears ulcerative, necrotizing and purulent and commonly induced by the formation of plaque. Acute infectious gingivitis is termed as ANUG or acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis or trench mouth.
Periodontitis: Gingivitis when accelerated and advanced leads to periodontitis. There is evident damage to the connective tissues and bones supporting the teeth. Periodontal pockets are formed with the gum tissue separating itself from the sulcus. Associated symptoms of the disease are redness, bleeding and inflammation of the gums; gingival deep pockets > 3 mm and loose teeth due to the weakness of bone and connective tissues.
Periodontitis can appear in different forms such as:
Chronic periodontitis: affecting adolescents and clinical significance is achieved by the mid-30s of the individual
Aggressive periodontitis: a subtype that occurs in childhood leading to bone loss by the 20s
Disease-related periodontitis: Periodontitis is associated with several medical conditions such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, heart disease (smoking, old age), HIV/AIDS, autoimmune disorders, leukaemia etc. Complications of periodontitis lead to effects on the heart sharing a common element of risk smoking, worsening cases of diabetes with difficulty in controlling blood sugar and respiratory disease due to bacteria in the throat descending into the airways and lungs increasing the risk of lung diseases. Periodontal infections in pregnant women can cause premature delivery and infantile low birth weights besides triggering factors triggering complications of the immune system causing premature contractions and dilatations.
It is of utmost importance to diagnose and treat gum disease at the right time from dental professionals specialized in treating early stage to advanced gum diseases with bone loss.