Chronic Periodontitis

Understanding Chronic Periodontitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention.

Chronic periodontitis is a common and progressive inflammatory condition that affects the supporting structures of the teeth, leading to gum tissue damage and potential tooth loss if left untreated.

Understanding Chronic Periodontitis


Chronic periodontitis is an advanced and persistent form of gum disease characterized by the chronic inflammation and damage to the supporting structures of the teeth, including the bone, ligaments, and gum tissue.

Long-term Condition:

Unlike acute conditions, chronic periodontitis is characterized by its prolonged and slow progression, often with periods of remission and exacerbation.

Causes of Chronic Periodontitis

Gingivitis Progression:

Chronic periodontitis typically develops as untreated gingivitis or untreated mild-to-moderate periodontitis worsens over time.

Plaque and Bacterial Accumulation:

The continued presence of plaque and disease-causing bacteria in the oral cavity exacerbates the condition.

Host Response:

The body's immune response can contribute to chronic inflammation and tissue destruction.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Periodontitis

Pocket Formation:

Pockets or gaps between the teeth and gums are common and tend to deepen over time.

Tooth Mobility:

Teeth may become increasingly loose and mobile as bone support is lost.

Gum Recession:

Gum recession can lead to exposed tooth roots, which can be sensitive and more prone to decay.

Bleeding and Pain:

Gums may bleed easily and cause discomfort, especially while eating or brushing.

Treatment for Chronic Periodontitis

Scaling and Root Planing:

This deep cleaning procedure is often performed to remove plaque and tartar, reduce pocket depths, and control inflammation.


In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to control bacterial infection and inflammation.

Surgical Procedures:

Advanced surgical treatments, such as flap surgery, bone grafts, guided tissue regeneration, and gum tissue grafts, may be necessary to address extensive damage and promote tissue repair.

Lifelong Maintenance:

Due to its chronic nature, individuals with chronic periodontitis require ongoing, lifelong maintenance and regular dental check-ups to monitor and manage the condition.

Complications of Chronic Periodontitis

Tooth Loss:

Chronic periodontitis is a leading cause of tooth loss, and advanced cases can lead to the extraction of multiple teeth.

Systemic Health Implications:

The chronic inflammation and infection associated with periodontitis may contribute to systemic health issues, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chronic Periodontitis

1. What is chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Chronic periodontitis is a common and progressive form of gum disease that affects the supporting tissues of the teeth, leading to the gradual loss of bone and potentially resulting in tooth loss.

2. What causes chronic periodontitis?

Answer: It is caused by long-standing plaque accumulation, which harbors bacteria leading to inflammation and destruction of the periodontal tissues.

3. Can chronic periodontitis be cured?

Answer: While it cannot be cured, it can be managed and controlled with proper dental care and maintenance.

4. What are the symptoms of chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Symptoms include bleeding gums, bad breath, gum recession, loose teeth, and changes in bite alignment due to bone loss.

5. Is chronic periodontitis contagious?

Answer: The bacteria causing periodontitis can be transferred through saliva, but the development of the disease in another person depends on their oral hygiene and susceptibility.

6. How is chronic periodontitis diagnosed?

Answer: Diagnosis is made through dental examinations, periodontal probing to measure pocket depths, and x-rays to assess bone loss.

7. What is the difference between gingivitis and chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums without affecting the bone, while chronic periodontitis also involves bone loss and is a more advanced stage of gum disease.

8. Can smoking affect chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Yes, smoking is a significant risk factor that exacerbates the progression of periodontitis by affecting blood flow to the gums and the body's response to infection.

9. How can chronic periodontitis affect overall health?

Answer: Research links periodontitis to other health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory diseases, due to the systemic inflammation it can cause.

10. What treatments are available for chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Treatments include scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), medications, surgery (for advanced cases), and ongoing maintenance therapy.

11. Can chronic periodontitis lead to tooth loss?

Answer: Yes, without treatment, the disease can progress and lead to the loosening and eventual loss of teeth.

12. How often should someone with chronic periodontitis visit the dentist?

Answer: Patients with chronic periodontitis may need to see their dentist every 3 to 4 months for maintenance and monitoring.

13. Can poor nutrition affect chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Yes, a diet lacking in essential nutrients can weaken the immune system and gum health, worsening periodontitis.

14. Is chronic periodontitis genetic?

Answer: Genetics can play a role in susceptibility to periodontitis, making some individuals more prone to the disease than others.

15. How does diabetes affect chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Diabetes increases the risk of periodontitis and can make the condition worse, as it affects the body’s ability to use blood sugar and fight infections.

16. Can chronic periodontitis be prevented?

Answer: Yes, with good oral hygiene practices, regular dental check-ups, and avoiding risk factors like smoking, it's possible to significantly reduce the risk of developing periodontitis.

17. What role does plaque play in chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Plaque is the primary cause, as the bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums and lead to inflammation and bone loss.

18. How can chronic periodontitis impact pregnancy?

Answer: Periodontitis has been linked to preterm birth and low birth weight, highlighting the importance of oral health during pregnancy.

19. What is periodontal maintenance therapy?

Answer: It's an ongoing treatment plan to control periodontitis and prevent further progression, involving regular cleanings and monitoring.

20. Can stress affect chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Stress can weaken the immune system, potentially increasing susceptibility to infections, including periodontal disease.

21. What is the role of antibiotics in treating chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Antibiotics may be used to control bacterial infection, either topically applied in the gum pockets or taken orally.

22. How does age affect chronic periodontitis?

Answer: The risk increases with age, not because of aging itself but due to the increased likelihood of prolonged plaque accumulation and health conditions that affect gum health.

23. Can tooth brushing and flossing reverse chronic periodontitis?

Answer: While they cannot reverse the damage, proper brushing and flossing are crucial in preventing further progression and maintaining oral health.

24. What surgical options are available for severe chronic periodontitis?

Answer: Surgical options include flap surgery for deep cleaning, bone grafts, and soft tissue grafts to address severe bone loss and gum recession.

25. Can chronic periodontitis recur after treatment?

Answer: Yes, without ongoing maintenance and proper oral hygiene, periodontitis can recur, highlighting the importance of regular dental visits and care.