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The discipline of periodontology concerns itself with the periodontal apparatus – which keeps the tooth in place – and the diagnosis and treatments of illnesses affecting it. 

The most common type of periodontal illness is periodontitis. This chronic, bacterial infection of the periodontal apparatus affects the gums and supporting tissue, loosening the tooth's hold. In later stages of the infection, periodontitis not only leads to gum recession and loosening of the teeth up to complete loss, it also poses a risk factor for serious illnesses such as arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes mellitus, and preterm delivery in pregnant patients.

Various factors influence the likelihood of suffering from periodontitis: A genetic disposition, as well as poor oral hygiene, stress, smoking, alcohol abuse, and other general illness might be risk factors.

Periodontitis usually starts off without any clear symptoms or pain. However, it is important to notice the first warning signs – such as bleeding, swollen, or red gums – and to take these seriously.

Generally, a combination of careful oral hygiene at home, regular tartar removal, professional dental cleaning, and periodontal treatment can slow down or even stop the illness from progressing. 

How is periodontitis treated?

The treatment only has a chance of being successful if the visible dental surfaces are free of plaque and the patient maintains careful dental care at home. Therefore, tartar and plaque are removed during pre-treatments with the help of professional dental cleaning methods, while the tooth surfaces are smoothened. The patient is instructed carefully on proper brushing techniques and other correct dental behaviour.

Systematic periodontal treatment to remove the infection can start once the pre-treatments have shown initial success and the gums begin to stop bleeding as much as before. The dentist will remove the plaque from the dental pockets and smoothen the reachable surfaces of the roots over the course of several appointments. This takes place under anaesthetic and does not hurt. It becomes harder for harmful bacteria to take hold. The gum will then eventually return, thus reducing the depth of the dental pockets. If the disease progresses more aggressively, accompanying treatment with antibiotics might be necessary.

It is more convenient, gentle, and effective to treat periodontitis with a special dental laser. The laser also reaches spots that are very hard to get to, killing germs and bacteria, while carefully removing infected tissue. The laser also expedites the wound healing process.

If these basic treatments do not prove effective, or if the dental pockets are too deep, then the tooth must be saved via surgical periodontal treatment.   

Regular check-ups and follow-up treatments to remove dental tartar and plaque are important, in order to guarantee the success of periodontal treatments.