Dental & Oral Health Data Verified


Published on Jan 12, 2019 and last reviewed on Apr 06, 2022   -  6 min read


It is one of the most common oral conditions that affect the supporting structures of teeth (periodontium) along with gums, including both soft and hard tissues (bone). They can show many symptoms but the common one for which patient seeks professional help is mobile teeth.


Periodontitis Overview

It is one of the most common oral conditions that affect the supporting structures of teeth (periodontium) along with gums, including both soft and hard tissues (bone). They can show many symptoms but the common one for which patient seeks professional help is mobile teeth.


This can be caused by various microorganisms that colonize in the plaque (soft deposits on teeth) and/or calculus (hard deposits on teeth). Hence, the predisposing causative factors include:

Types of Periodontitis:

There are various types of periodontitis (periodontal diseases) based on time period on the onset or how long the condition prevailed, and its association with various factors as follows:

This indicates that the condition had been there for a long time, that is greater than 15 days to one month and can be further divided into localized or generalized. If it involves six or fewer teeth, it is called localized and more than six is called as generalized. This can be seen in adults, more commonly.

Interestingly, this is seen in teenagers and sometimes young adults and is more severe than any other form as it causes rapid destruction of the tissues. Also, plaque and calculus are not the major causative factor. It is mainly attributed to the defective killing property of neutrophils (WBC). Again, they are further divided into localized (incisors and molars, near circumpubertal age) and generalized (three or more teeth other than first molars and incisors, less than 30 years). It is also called early-onset or juvenile periodontitis.

For further details, it is advisable to consult your dentist for a diagnosis of the type of condition you are suffering.

Difference between gingivitis and periodontitis:

The difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is that gingivitis affects only the gums that surround oral cavity and does not affect bone or other attachment and supporting apparatus of the tooth, whereas, periodontitis affects all the supporting and attachment structures including gums and both hard and soft tissues of the tooth. It can be noted that gingivitis may or may not proceed to periodontitis.


Healthy gums are pale pink in color with firm consistency, surrounding the neck of the tooth, and can have some normal brownish-black melanin pigmentation. When periodontitis is present, you can witness the following symptoms:


A dentist is a trained physician to diagnose and treat this condition. Majority of the patients come with the complaint of bad breath, mobile teeth, sensitivity, stains, and deposits or pain while chewing.

Initially, a detailed history will be recorded of the patient including personal, medical, previous dental, current complaint, and drug histories which will lead to a provisional diagnosis of the condition. Next, the doctor will go for clinical examination, wherein the status of gums will be checked like for gum bleeding, the extent of deposits, depth of the gingival sulcus (pocket between gum and root surface of the tooth), etc., along with hard tissues (teeth). For mobility, a fremitus test is also done to check for the causative factor of mobility. If it is due to defective occlusion, it can be corrected by a different treatment modality.

After all, this, if required, you may be asked to get an X-ray (OPG or IOPA) to check for the extent of bone loss or presence of any other condition. And, once based on all these, the diagnosis is made, the treatment plan is formatted and carried out.


The treatment can be classified into conservative and surgical.

1. The conservative management involves the follows:

2. The surgical management is done for severe defects and for the tooth that has a better prognosis after the surgery and involves:

After the surgery, a gum (gingival) pack is placed on the surgical site for 7 to 10 days to aid in healing and avoid any gum injury or infection


Once the treatment is done, the patient is recalled for further examination and review in a week and then in a month or six months to one year once based on the severity of the condition. During the follow-up, the oral examination is done and once a satisfactory level of healing is achieved, the next step of treating the other conditions like endodontic (root canal treatment), filling, or replacing the missing or extracted tooth (prosthesis), etc., can be done.



It is always better to prevent any condition before it takes up a disease form. To prevent periodontitis, you can do the following:

Since periodontitis is a very common condition, it is necessary to be aware of the same. A minor doubtful change in your oral cavity needs medical attention. You can consult a dentist regarding diagnosis, details, and treatment of any of the condition affecting the periodontium. The sooner the attention, the more high chances to save the tooth and supporting structures.


Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Causes of Periodontitis?

Periodontitis can be caused due to following reasons:
- Diabetes.
- Aging.
- Periodontal problems.
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Infections in the oral cavity.


What Are the Stages of Periodontal Disease?

The four stages of periodontal disease are:
- Stage 1 - Gingival inflammation with the initial lesion.
- Stage 2 - Gingival inflammation with the early lesion.
- Stage 3 - Gingival inflammation with the established lesion.
- Stage 4 - Gingival inflammation with the advanced lesion.


What Does Periodontal Disease Look Like?

Periodontal disease causes the mobility of the tooth. The poor health of the periodontium contributes to the loss of bone. This will result in the tooth, which is unstable. The teeth will have a lot of calculus deposition. It will be accompanied by bad breath.


Can I Survive With Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is common in older people. People usually survive with periodontal disease for a more extended period. It is typically harmless if it has been caused by the age factor alone. If periodontal disease has occurred due to underlying health conditions, then it might be necessary to get treatment for improving the medical condition. If the health issues persist for a long time, then the periodontal disease will become severe.


What Are the Ways to Fix Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease can be cured by scaling and root planing procedures. This will provide the first line of treatment. Hand scaling and ultrasonic scaling are two beneficial procedures. In case of severe periodontal infections, surgical procedures are advised for the patient. The patient will be recommended to take antibiotics or antimicrobial medications along with the dental treatment procedure.


What Are the Microorganisms That Cause Periodontal Disease?

The organisms that are known to cause destruction to the periodontal health are:
- Streptococcal gingivostomatitis.
- Streptococcus mutans.
- Streptococcus species.


Which Is the Best Mouthwash for Periodontal Disease?

The best mouthwash for periodontal disease is Chlorhexidine. The mouthwash should be mixed with water before use. After mixing with water, the mouthwash is used for gargling. The gargled water is spitted out. If you have severe periodontal infections, you should ask your dentist to recommend specific mouthwashes. Also, the directions of usage will be guided by the dentist.


What Are Some of the Early Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease?

The early warning signs of periodontal disease are:
- Red or swollen gums.
- Bad breath.
- Painful chewing.
- Tender or bleeding gums.
- Loose teeth.
- Receding gums.
- Sensitive teeth.


Do Periodontal Pockets Heal?

Most of the periodontal pockets heal by scaling and root planing procedures. In severe cases, it would not heal completely. In such cases, another sitting of the scaling procedure can be attempted. If the bacterial load does not reduce, the surgical treatment option might be required. If the pocket is not healed, then there would be an additional increase in the bacterial load.


Will Tooth Extraction Cure Periodontal Disease?

Extraction can be a solution for a tooth that is shaking. After the removal of the tooth, there would be a missing space. Only the tooth will be removed in the extraction procedure, but the gums will remain. The problems in the gums will not be rectified with the extraction procedure.


What Is the Diagnosis Method for Periodontal Disease?

Diagnosis can be made clinically by a dentist. Initially, the risk assessment of the condition will be made. Then, the health condition of medically compromised patients will be noted. If any blood tests and urine tests are required, the dentist will recommend you to proceed for those tests. In this way, the prognosis of periodontal disease will be identified.


How Do You Differentiate Periodontitis From Gingivitis?

It is possible to differentiate periodontitis and gingivitis by observing a few clinical features and severity of the condition. If there is inflammation only in the gingiva, then the condition is referred to as gingivitis. The most severe form of gingivitis is periodontitis. In periodontitis, there would be extensive bleeding and tooth mobility. The pocket formation will also be noticed in periodontitis.


Does Listerine Help Periodontitis?

Listerine mouthwash is an excellent solution for reducing the bacterial load. It is known to kill the microorganisms in the oral cavity for up to 12 hours. If used after meals, the number of microorganisms will be reduced by rinsing with Listerine mouthwash.


Can Periodontitis Be Reversed?

It is tough to reverse the condition of periodontitis. But, it is possible to reduce the severity and intensity of the bacteria and other microorganisms. Appropriate treatment procedures can reverse the initial stage of periodontitis, which is gingivitis.


What Happens If the Periodontal Disease Goes Untreated?

If the periodontal infection is left untreated, it can lead to health issues and making somebody more susceptible to a range of health conditions, including cancer of the pancreas, kidney, and blood. It is necessary to treat the periodontal condition as soon as possible.


Can My Teeth Be Saved If I Have Periodontal Disease?

Yes, it is entirely possible to save your teeth if you still have periodontal problems. The tooth that is shaking does not necessarily fall off. The advancements of periodontal splints help in maintaining the stability of the teeth.


Can Salt Water Rinse Heal Gum Infection?

Rinsing with a saltwater solution will help you to heal gum infection. To prepare the saltwater solution, dissolve half to one teaspoon of salt in a warm glass of water and gently swish it for 30 seconds. This solution will help to soothe irritated gum tissue and vanish the infection. They will allow your gums to heal.


How Long Does It Take for Periodontitis to Develop?

The time taken for the condition of periodontitis depends on the individual. It can occur as both acute and chronic conditions. The acute type develops rapidly, and the chronic type takes a long time. Aggressive periodontitis occurs in a short time.


Can I Kiss Someone With Periodontal Disease?

At first, periodontal disease is not contagious. It cannot spread through direct contacts like handshakes and hugs. With periodontal disease, the bacteria gets transmitted through kissing. If you kiss for a long time, then there will be vast chances of spreading the infection to your partner.

Last reviewed at:
06 Apr 2022  -  6 min read




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