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Periodontitis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Periodontitis is a severe infection in gum that harms the bones and soft tissues that are instrumental in supporting your teeth. Periodontal diseases can result in loss of tooth or can also develop a heart attack or stroke and some related serious health issues.

Albeit, periodontitis is common, it can be prevented. It is caused due to improper oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing along with frequent professional dental intervention can immensely reduce the probability of periodontitis development.



There are several causes that lead to periodontitis, which include acute deficiency of vitamin C resulting in scurvy. This condition leads to spongy and bleeding gum and ultimately tooth loss. In addition, juvenile periodontitis has a strong genetic influence. It is often caused due to plaque building and a fusion of sticky bacterial substance and bacteria layered on the teeth.

If the plaque remains on your teeth for two or three days, it solidifies under your gum line and become tartar (calculus). This stage of plaque is hard enough to remove at home and acts as a breeding ground for bacteria. You need to remove and clean the tartar by brushing and flossing or you may need the help of your dentist for removing the tartar.

The longer plaque and tartar stay on your teeth, the greater damage it can cause. At the initial stage, it just inflames the gingiva, the gum covering the base of your teeth. This condition is termed as gingivitis, which is the first stage of periodontal disease. But persistent inflammation may lead to development of pockets between your teeth and gums packed with plaque, tartar and bacteria. Over time, these deposits get deeper due to more accumulation of bacteria and eventually reach your gum tissue leading to loss of bone and tissue. It can eventually lead to shedding of the few teeth too.

Damage of bone due to periodontitis can lead to receding gum lines. It may also cause deep rift between individual tooth and its socket. These splits are termed as periodontal pockets, and initially shallow periodontal pockets often deepen and finally become deep enough unable to support the adjacent tooth.


You can yourself monitor the warning signs of the disease. There are occasions when you did not witness and symptoms of periodontitis, but it might have spread into the bone without indicating any sign. Majority of people does not feel any pain because of gum disease and hence it’s often not noticed. It is suggested by the dentist to go for regular dental checkups, to identify any periodontic condition.

The triggers of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums while brushing teeth
  • Painful, tender, swollen, and red gums
  • Sagging gums parting away from the teeth
  • Prolonged bad breath
  • Pus between gums and the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Change in teeth fitting when you bite
  • Shift the fitting of partial dentures

All these symptoms are the indicator that you should immediately contact your dentist for better guidance.


Your dentist may investigate the firmness and color of your gums and examine the teeth for its looseness. They will also examine how your teeth fit together during your bite. For this X-rays can be conducted to analyze the health of the bones that support the teeth.
In addition, a technique termed as periodontal probing is also conducted, which is the landmark for testing of gum disease. In this technique, a small metal probe is used as a measuring instrument, which is slightly inserted between the gum and the tooth to analyze the depth of the pocket formed between the gum and the tooth.


There are various procedures to treat periodontitis, based on its condition. The objective of periodontitis treatment is cleaning the pockets of bacteria thoroughly and stopping further damage. Treatment can be conducted by a dentist. Different types of treatment include:

Nonsurgical Treatments

If you’re not suffering from advanced periodontitis, less invasive treatment procedure can be followed including:

Scaling – This process discards bacteria and tartar from the surfaces of your mouth and beneath your gums. An ultrasound device is used to perform this treatment.

Root Planning – In this process the root surfaces are smoothened for stopping further building of tartar.

Antibiotics – In this procedure your periodontist may prescribe some topical or oral antibiotics for controlling and reducing bacterial infection. It may include an antibiotic mouth wash or insertion of gels or threads having antibiotics in the packets between your gums and teeth for deep cleaning.

Surgical Treatments

If unfortunately your periodontitis is at advanced state, it is quite possible that your gum tissue does not aptly respond to nonsurgical procedures. Under these circumstances, Periodontist may opt for dental surgery, including:

  • Flap Surgery – While performing this surgery small incision are created in your gum to lift back some section of gum tissues and exposing the roots for better planning and scaling. As periodontitis can damage bones too, it may require rebuilding prior to the suturing the gum tissue back in place. It may take one to three hours and it is done under the influence of local anesthesia.
  • Soft Tissue Grafts – It is done for correcting the gum line as it recedes due to periodontal disease. In this process a small quantity of tissue is removed from the palate or from any donor’s palate and it is attached to the affected place. It reduces future gum recession and the root is covered offering your teeth a cosmetically appeasing look.
  • Bone Grafting – In this process your own bone or donor’s bone is grafted in case your bone is damaged due to this disease. It holds your tooth firmly in place.
  • Guided Tissue Regeneration – In this process, a particular substance of biocompatible fabric is placed between your tooth and bone, which prevents unwanted tissue from invading the healing part, enabling the bone to grow easily.
  • Enamel Matrix Derivative Application – Yet in another procedure a specialized gel is administered to the root of the tooth. This gel comprises of proteins found in growing tooth enamel and helps the development of healthy tissues and bones.

Flossing and brushing regularly can reduce the risk of periodontitis. Above said are the complete overviews of this disease if you happen to encounter any such situation. If periodontitis has already developed at advance stage, it is recommended to consult licensed Periodontistfor proper treatment.