Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease caused by a bacterial infection. It is characterized by a progressive destruction of the dental attachment tissues. Left untreated, it may lead to complete loss of dental attachment structures and subsequently loss of teeth.
The primary objective of treatment is to arrest the progressive destruction of periodontal tissue and thus to arrest loss of attachment structures. However, the infectious process involved in periodontal disease is complex. Host susceptibility and the presence of pathogenic bacterial species, whether exogenous or commensal, interact and either promote or hinder the progression of the disease. Simultaneously, numerous local or environmental factors exert an influence on the etiologic agents and the course of disease. Because of its multifactorial nature, periodontal disease is difficult to manage. In formulating treatment strategies, both the patient’s periodontal susceptibility and the amount of periodontal destruction need to be taken into account. Repair and regeneration have become realistic objectives in the current context of periodontal therapeutics. For this reason, a methodic assessment of severity factors is a crucial step in treatment planning.
Severe periodontal disease is characterized by:
• Destruction of periodontal attachment tissue exceeding one third of the root’s length
• Class II or III furcation invasion
• Probing depths exceeding 6 mm
• Attachment loss exceeding 4 mm
Some teeth have already been lost or are unlikely to be maintained. The indication of prosthetic restorations for the replacement of missing teeth denotes the irreversible aspect of treatment in the periodontal patient. However, prosthetic rehabilitation may seem a risky endeavor in the context of uncontrolled periodontal disease. This raises several questions concerning both the disease itself and the global treatment strategy:
• Is infection control possible in all forms of periodontitis?
• Are there severity factors? How can they be detected? Can they be eliminated?
• What are the risk factors?
• What would be the best treatment strategy?
• To what extent can a conservative approach be applied?
• What are the different criteria that indicate the decision to extract?
• When should the decision to extract be made?
• What is the prognosis for the remaining teeth?
• Is it possible to place implants in the context of advanced periodontal disease?
• Should we carry out periodontal treatments less often and place implants more often?
• What are the optimal conditions for successful therapy?
In the 1990s, the strategy consisting of root debridement with scaling and planing with or without surgical techniques and followed by periodontal maintenance every 3 to 6 months was considered the best treatment for the majority of periodontal diseases (Goodson 1994). However, the so-called refractory forms emerged; these were characterized by poor response to treatment (Figs 1-1a and 1-1b). In these specific cases, antibiotic therapy was recommended. Since then, however, progress in microbiologic knowledge no longer limits the use of antibiotic therapy to the refractory forms of periodontal disease. Taken together, these elements demonstrate the need for a sound understanding of the complex microbiology of periodontal disease in clinical practice.
A better understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of periodontal diseases has allowed for the development of new guidelines for management and treatment; this represents a major step toward carrying out treatment strategies better suited to individual patients. An increasingly specific approach, taking into account factors such as patient susceptibility, features of periodontal infection, and individual severity factors, will no doubt lead to a reduction of the number of refractory forms and lay out a clinical context favorable to tissue response.
The American Academy of Periodontology’s 2000 classification now serves as a reference. Periodontal disease treatments should be carried out in accordance with the diagnostic criteria specified in this classification. Advanced periodontitis is most often observed in younger patients, though it does not represent a distinct clinical subset; it is observed in chronic and aggressive forms of periodontal disease, both of which represent the principal subunits of the new classification. In the case of chronic periodontitis, treatment is relatively straightforward: the infection is characterized by a significant amount of plaque buildup and features a predominant commensal bacterial population with local aggravating factors. In the case of aggressive periodontitis, a more specific pro/>