Periodontal Disease: The Invisible Epidemic

Written by: Dr. Antonio Santos Alemany
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Many patients find out that they have periodontitis (pyorrhea) very late, even in advanced stages. The reason is that periodontitis gives few warning signs. In addition, a person may think that their teeth are clean and healthy, when in reality their gums may suffer from periodontitis. In fact it has been called the invisible epidemic due to its high prevalence as it usually goes unnoticed.

Pyorrhea affects 90% of the population and is the leading cause of tooth loss in the world population. It is an infectious-inflammatory disease that damages the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth. They are produced by the accumulation of bacteria and calculus (tartar) around the teeth.

If the disease only affects the gum we will talk about gingivitis , on the other hand, when it affects the gum and the supporting bone of the teeth it is called periodontitis (pyorrhea). There is a genetic susceptibility and there are also risk factors that predispose to suffer them, of which the most common are smoking and diabetes .


A large number of people are not aware that they have gum problems because these diseases are usually painless except in very specific cases. However, when any of these symptoms appear, we should visit the gum specialist: red gums, inflamed gums, bleeding gums when brushing or spontaneously, bad taste in the mouth or bad breath (halitosis), mobility of the teeth, hypersensitivity of the teeth, retraction of the gums, abscesses or phlegmon in the gum and separation or spaces between the teeth.

The purpose of the treatment is to eliminate the accumulation of bacteria and tartar around and inside the gums (in what we call periodontal pockets or bags of pyorrhea). The aim is to perform a disinfection and mechanical desinflammatory treatment using manual (curette) and / or sonic and ultrasonic instruments. It is a painless treatment because it can be done with local anesthesia.

In cases of moderate and / or advanced periodontitis, it is necessary to perform small surgical procedures to reach the bottom of the bags. In many occasions we use techniques to regenerate bone destroyed by periodontal disease. In the case of a chronic disease (such as diabetes), once the periodontal disease is treated, maintenance visits and check- ups should be made every 3-6 months to prevent relapse and the reappearance of the disease.. In addition, it is necessary to control smoking to prevent the reappearance of the disease.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Antonio Santos Alemany

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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