Author: Bruce L. Pihlstrom.
Published on: Periodontology 2000; vol. 25; 2001, 37-58.
The prevention and treatment of the periodontal diseases is based on accurate diagnosis, reduction or elimination of causative agents, risk management and correction of the harmful effects of disease. Prominent and confirmed risk factors or risk predictors for periodontitis in adults include smoking, diabetes, race, P. gingivalis, P. intermedia, low education, infrequent dental attendance and genetic influences.
Several other specific periodontal bacteria, herpesviruses, increased age, male, sex, depression, race, traumatic occlusion and female osteoporosis in the presence of heavy dental calculus have been shown to be associated with loss of periodontal support and can be considered to be risk indicators of periodontitis. The presence of furcation involvement, tooth mobility, and a parafunctional habit without the use of a biteguard are associated with a poorer periodontal prognosis following periodontal therapy. An accurate diagnosis can only be made by a thorough evaluation of data that have been systematically collected by:
1) patient interview
2) medical consultation as indicated
3) clinical periodontal examination
4) radiographic examination
5) laboratory tests as needed.
Clinical signs of periodontal disease such as pocket depth, loss of clinical attachment and bone loss are cumulative measures of past disease. They do not provide the dentist with a current assessment of disease activity. In an attempt to improve the ability to predict future disease progression, several types of diagnostic tests have been studied, including host inflammatory products and mediators, enzymes, tissue breakdown products and subgingival temperature. In general, the usefulness of these tests for predicting future disease activity remains to be established in terms of sensitivity, specificity and predictive value.
Although microbiological analysis of subgingival plaque is not necessary to diagnose and treat most patients with periodontitis, it is helpful when treating patients with unusual forms of periodontal disease such as early-onset, refractory and rapidly progressive disease. There appears to be a strong genetic component in some types of periodontal disease and genetic testing for disease susceptibility has potential for future use, but more research is needed to determine its utility for use in clinical practice. Treatment of the periodontal diseases may be divided into four phases: systemic, hygienic, corrective and maintenance or supportive periodontal therapy. Regardless of the type of treatment provided, periodontal therapy will fail or will be less effective in the absence of adequate supportive periodontal therapy.