Apical and Periapical Periodontitis
Apical and periapical periodontitis can be quite serious, and the more you wait, the worse it gets. But what is this condition? How do you know if you have periodontitis, and if you do, is there a treatment?
If you are wondering what the treatment may be, you can always click here for root canal details since it is the most common way to treat periodontitis.
What Is Apical Periodontitis?
Periodontitis goes by many names, but suffice to say that it is a gum disease that affects the tissue around teeth. There are several stages of this disease. The first one is gingivitis. In this stage, the gums will become swollen and red. If the situation gets out of hand, it can evolve into periodontitis.
Apical periodontitis (also known as apical parodontitis or periapical parodontitis) is an inflammation of the periodontium, that is, the tissue that surrounds our teeth. As the name suggests, apical periodontitis targets the apex, the area around the tip of the root.
It is worth mentioning that there are two main types of apical periodontitis. The first one is asymptomatic, and as you can probably guess by the name, you will notice no symptoms. That doesn’t mean that the asymptomatic apical periodontitis is harmless. On the contrary, it can cause many problems in the long run.
Naturally, the second type is symptomatic apical periodontitis, and it is easily noticeable since it can make biting quite painful. One of the main issues with this type of disease is that it appears suddenly. What’s worse, the condition will get rapidly more serious. Finally, one can also have chronic apical periodontitis/chronic periapical periodontitis.
What Causes It?
Apical periodontitis is usually a sign of an underlying condition, and there are several problems that can cause it. So, let’s start from the beginning.
The most common cause of periodontitis is the bacterial invasion of the inner part of the tooth. In the majority of cases, apical periodontitis is caused by tooth decay if the issue is left untreated. Many people consider this to be the natural history of dental caries.
But this is far from being the only cause. Periodontitis can also appear after an occlusal trauma after tooth restoration or extrusion after root canal therapy. Finally, we already mentioned how periodontitis could be a result of a bacterial invasion, which is the next step in the process of gum disease.
Another reason why periodontitis should be treated as soon as possible is that this disease can develop into a periapical abscess. This type of abscess forms at the end of the root of a tooth, and it is a collection of pus.
How to Recognize It?
Let’s talk about symptoms and ways to recognize this condition. The first thing to talk about here is naturally asymptomatic periodontitis. Should this problem occur, there will be no way for you to discover it on your own. Since there are no symptoms, the only way you can notice the problem is if you talk to your doctor.
That leads us to acute periapical periodontitis. Acute or symptomatic means that there will be plenty of signs that something is going on with your gums. And the symptoms of this disease usually show on gums.
For those unaware, healthy gums are pink and firm. One of the most obvious symptoms of periodontitis is swollen or puffy gums. Change in color can also point out gum disease. If your gums are red or even purple, it is a clear sign to visit a dentist.
Bleeding gums are another thing to be worried about, and of course, pain. If you notice pain in your gums while eating, this might be an early symptom of periodontitis. Other things on the list include bad breath, pus, a loose tooth (or teeth), receding gums, and any movement of teeth. If there is a change in how your teeth fit together when you close your mouth, this is another sign that you might have periodontitis.
We should mention that the majority of the symptoms on the list are not exclusive to periodontitis. However, whatever the underlying reason may be, it is still a sign to visit a dentist.
Is There Any Treatment?
Yes. The solution to this problem will mostly depend on its severity and how far the inflammation has come. Previous medical procedures can also play an important role in the treatment. Luckily, there are several ways your dentist can approach the problem.
Firstly, a root canal can be a perfect way to treat periodontitis since the treatment can minimize the inflammation and help remove the bacteria from the infected tissue. If root canal treatments are not a viable option, your dentist might suggest apicoectomy.
This procedure is performed in cases when root canal therapy didn’t provide results or if the inflammation appears after the therapy. What that means is that the dentist will remove the tip of the root, as well as the infected tissue, and seal it with the filling.
Of course, if the inflammation is still in the early phase, antibiotics will be more than helpful.
What to Do?
As you can probably guess, the most effective way to avoid periodontitis is to focus on your oral health. Brushing your teeth properly and frequently will lower the chances of inflammation, and it will help you avoid many other dental problems. Besides brushing, flossing is highly recommended, and you should do it at least once a day.
The second part of the solution is to regularly visit your dentist. They will be able to tell you if there is something you should do to improve your oral hygiene. The frequency of visits depends on your needs, but the general rule is between six and twelve months.
If you notice any of the symptoms we mentioned earlier or feel discomfort or pain, the obvious solution is to talk to your dentist. They will be able to tell you the reason behind the pain and what the most efficient way to solve the problem is.