Periodontal disease (periodontitis) is defined as inflammation of the supporting structure of the dentition, including hard and soft tissues.
While there are various forms of the disease, it is most commonly a slow disease process with dental plaque as the main causative factor. Everyone has some amount of dental plaque, however the accumulation of plaque along with other factors such as genetics, certain bacterial species, and habits such as smoking, can make one person more likely than another to develop periodontitis.
As periodontitis is a complex condition, it requires a substantial amount of knowledge and skill to diagnose and treat effectively. A periodontist usually works with the patient and his/her general dentist to treat the condition and prevent it from recurring.
Untreated periodontitis has a number of negative effects on a person’s health including the presence of chronic inflammation, loose and lost teeth, abscesses, pain, and loss of function.