We now offer a new method to detect periodontitis problems at our clinic: a much faster and cheaper system than previously, where it was necessary to take a sample and send it to an analytics lab and wait for results. Ask us to find out more!
WHAT IS PYORRHEA?
Pyorrhea is an informal term for PERIODONTITIS, a disease in which the bones and ligaments that support the teeth become inflamed and infected, causing the teeth to become bare, unsupported, and eventually fall off.
Gum diseases are generally painless at first, which is why it’s quite common for them to go undetected until they enter advanced stage. The first symptoms of pyorrhea are similar to those of gingivitis, though it can also present a diminishing of the gum, loose teeth, or hypersensitivity.
Early signs of pyorrhea are generally detected by a dental health specialist. If pyorrhea is detected early, it can be solved through simple non-surgical treatment, which includes scaling and root planning (cleansing plaque from the deep periodontal pockets through in-depth cleaning, and smoothing the root of the teeth in order to ensure all virus and bacteria are destroyed).
If the disease is in a more advanced stage, surgical treatment is still a possibility. The four most common surgical treatments for pyorrhea include:
- Periodontal surgery: This treatment is suggested for times when oral hygiene and dentist appointments haven’t been enough to completely eliminate the bacteria within the periodontal pockets due to the infection being located in a deeper area.
- Regenerative surgery: Applied mostly when the bone where the teeth are anchored is too far decayed, lost tissue and bone are regenerated through this treatment. Most often employed for specific single teeth the patient really wants to keep.
- Crown lengthening: Used when teeth are surrounded by an excess of tissue, new tissue is generated and then excess bone tissue is eliminated in order to return the tooth to a natural state.
- Soft tissue grafts: Applied when the teeth’s roots become exposed, soft tissues are grafted in order to cover the roots again with gum tissue and mucus.
It should be mentioned, however, that the absolute best treatment for pyorrhea is prevention. Eliminating mouth bacteria is essential in order to avoid gum infection. While some bacteria live in our bodies and have important functions to keep our body in working order, sometimes these bacteria can begin growing uncontrolledly and cause complications. Mouth bacteria are among these, due to the unlimited stream of nutrients and humidity they enjoy in the mouth environment. Regular brushing and flossing after every meal, together with regular dental care, should be enough to prevent pyorrhea.
WHAT IS PERIODONTITIS?
Periodontitis is a periodontal disease, much like gingivitis, which is characterized by causing inflammation of the periodontium, the tissues that anchor and support the tooth (which includes gum ligaments, periodontal cementum, and alveolar bone).
In order to accurately diagnose a periodontitis, we perform a clinical examination coupled with radiographic observation. We can confirm the presence of the disease itself when tissue is swollen, which is usually coupled with a possible loss of insertion. In order to measure the depth the disease’s focus is at, we employ a small probe, inserted between the gum and the tooth.
This disease is associated to loss of alveolar bone, as it will progressively destroy it.
Symptoms associated with periodontitis include: gum swelling, which leads to bleeding gingivitis; visible loosening of the teeth, as the dental bone support’s height is reduced (this is why the teeth look “taller”, and is a first warning sign for dentists); abnormal tooth mobility; and the appearance of what appear to be small black holes between teeth.
Much like with gingivitis, the main cause of periodontitis is dental plaque, which is made out of bacteria. Basically, periodontitis is a shift in the mouth’s microbial population, which ends up causing inflammatory lesions. This is why it’s so important to eliminate plaque through proper oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing.
There are several risk factors associated with periodontal lesions. Among them, genetic or hereditary anomalies in connective and epithelial tissues, or an alkaline phosphate deficiency that causes excess production of cytokines (proteins that regulate the metabolism and functions of cells).
Pregnant women are also at heightened risk, due to hormonal shifts caused by pregnancy that can affect both the buccal cavity and the periodontium.
Among the ambient factors that can increase the risk of periodontitis we find smoking, as tobacco consumption causes a reduction of blood flow to the gums, which can increase the chances of lesions and infection due to a reduced of the immune system.
There are two primary types of periodontitis:
- Chronic periodontitis. It’s the most common form of the disease. It can appear at any age, but is most common in adults. Its severity increases with time. It’s characterized by the strong presence of plaque and is associated with several kinds of bacteria.
- Aggressive periodontitis. It’s characterized by the loss of insertion, by the destruction of tooth bone tissue, and by an abnormality in the phagocytic white cells. The advancement of this type of periodontitis can be stopped, as can the loss of bone tissue.
Causes of Pyorrhea
Pyorrhea is a mouth disease in which the bones and ligaments that support the teeth get swollen due to a bacterial infection. It’s considered a periodontal disease, and in its advanced stage causes gum bleeding and pus secretion. It’s also the primary cause of “bad breath” as well as slow jawbone erosion.
The end result of pyorrhea, if not treated in time, is always loss of teeth.
As with any disease, the best treatment for pyorrhea is always prevention, and in order to prevent a disease one must know its possible causes. Pyorrhea can be caused by a wide variety of reasons. Among the most common are an increase in mouth bacteria growth caused by improper dental hygiene, smoking, a wrong diet, or the excessive consumption of sugars and sugary foods. A lack of folic acid, calcium, and niacin can also propitiate this disease.
Other factors known to influence the appearance of pyorrhea include:
- Food particles not being removed by brushing and remaining stuck to the teeth.
- Drug use
- Excess consumption of alcohol
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Poor diet
- Excessive inhalation of smoke
- Bacterial infection
- Chemical or physical irritants
- Lesions in gums and/or their support structures, most commonly caused by improper usage of toothpicks
- Improper teeth cleaning
- Bad diet habits or frequent consumption of white sugar and bread.
- Health problems
- Prolonged stress
- Improper brushing following a wrong direction, which ends up accumulating bits of food in hard to access areas of the mouth instead of removing them.
With all the previous items, it’s generally possible to identify whether a person is predisposed towards pyorrhea. The general constant is bad dental hygiene and scarcely ever visiting their dentist, but also people who tend to abuse harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs frequently end up suffering from pyorrhea even with good mouth hygiene.Finally, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals and low on flours and sugars can help prevent this disease.