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Treatment of Periodontitis
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease of bacterial origin that destroys the tissues of support of the teeth. The term "periodontum" encompasses all the tissues of support of the teeth including the gingiva (gums), the alveolar bone which is located around the teeth and the fibrous attachment that links the alveolar bone with a particular tissue of the teeth that is located in the root surface (cementum).
How is periodontitis treated?
The presence of bacteria is the main cause of persisting inflammation around the gingiva and of the loss of alveolar bone that supports the teeth.
In order to have a healing process around the periodontum, all the bacterial deposits of the root surface of the affected teeth must be removed. Therefore, the treatment is mainly based on the removal of these bacterial deposits of the tooth surface.
The periodontist will perform a deep cleaning of all root surfaces. It is particularly important to remove the bacterial deposits that are below the gum line, inside the periodontal pocket. This procedure is termed "root planing" and is generally performed in several appointments. Depending on the severity of the disease systemic antibiotics may be also required.
In those patients that have advance forms of disease a surgical approach may be needed in order to have a visual access to the root surfaces and be able to properly decontaminate them. In certain cases, it may be possible to regenerate the lost bone and periodontal ligament, these techniques are termed guided tissue regeneration.
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