Periodontal disease is a type of disease that affects one or more of the periodontal tissues: alveolar bone, periodontal ligament, cementum, gingiva.
While many different diseases affect the tooth-supporting structures, plaque-induced inflammatory lesions make up the vast majority of periodontal diseases and have traditionally been divided into two categories: gingivitis or periodontitis.
While in some sites or individuals, gingivitis never progresses to periodontitis, data indicates that gingivitis always precedes periodontitis.
The treatment of periodontal disease begins with the removal of sub-gingival calculus (tartar) and biofilm deposits. A dental hygienist procedure called scaling and root planing is the common first step in addressing periodontal problems, which seeks to remove calculus by mechanically scraping it from tooth surfaces.
Enzymatic agents found in commercial preparations can loosen, dissolve, and prevent biofilm formation. Beneficial agents include lysozyme, lactoperozidase, glucose oxidase, mutanase, and dextranase.
Another method for treatment of periodontal disease involve the use of an orally administered antibiotic, Periostat (Doxycycline). Periostat has been clinically proven to decrease alveolar bone loss and improve the conditions of periodontal disease with minimal side-effects.
Five major factors exposing patients to increased risk of periodontal disease include:
- Genetics or family history
- Bacterial composition (the type of microorganisms a particular individual may harbor in their oral microflora)
- Extraneous forces or stresses put on the bone, primarily caused by clenching or grinding of teeth and malpositioned teeth that can be torqued from improper loading (patient who has not had orthodontic correction).
It has also been well documented that there is a proven link between those who exhibit periodontal disease and an increased risk for heart disease.