The term of periodontology covers all forms of treatments of the so-called tooth bed (periodont) – such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or periodontitis (inflammation of the tooth holding apparatus, such as jaw bone, gums, dental root skin or dental cement).
A temporary gingivitis does not constitute any risk, if considered separately, but can quickly become chronic and turn into a periodontitis.
However, if a case of periodontitis remains untreated it will usually lead to a loosening of the tooth and later to its loss. Furthermore, it may lead to severe general diseases such as cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, and even bears an increased risk of premature birth during pregnancy.
Gingivitis as well as periodontitis are caused by bacteria that settle within the interdental spaces and at the gingival margin. If a gum disease is discovered during a dental examination, first of all tartar and plaque, where the inflammatory bacteria are situated, are removed by a professional dental cleaning session. In severe cases however it might be necessary to have tartar and plaque removed by a surgical intervention. The periodontal treatment aims at reducing the amount of bacteria significantly so that the inflammation stimulus is removed. As gum diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis are generally free of pain they often remain unnoticed by the patient. Therefore we recommend preventive routine check-ups at the dentist (e.g. as part of a routine dental hygiene treatment). Nonetheless, a regular aftercare is crucial to prevent the expansion of a (chronical) periodontitis.