Constant pain and tooth loss: Treatment for periodontitis is often significantly delayed

Constant pain and tooth loss: Treatment for periodontitis is often significantly delayed

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Barmer GEK: Periodontitis therapy is often started too late
Bad breath and bleeding gums are typical indications of periodontitis. In the long term, there is a risk of tooth loss and other health problems. If therapy is started on time, periodontitis can theoretically be treated relatively well. Nevertheless, according to the current “Barmer Zahnreport 2017”, about a third of those affected, and thus 440,000 people nationwide, lose their affected teeth despite therapy. Periodontitis therapy apparently often fails to keep its teeth, according to the Barmer GEK.

“Periodontitis therapy seems to be late or too late for many patients. It is actually helpful in this, ”emphasizes the CEO of the Barmer GEK, Prof. Dr. Christoph Straub. Those affected should therefore be strongly advised to go to the dentist at an early stage and to consistently implement their therapy recommendations. Regular check-ups are advisable here. If you do not go to the check-up every year, you double your risk of losing teeth despite periodontitis therapy, says Prof. Straub. In addition, regular follow-up care is important because those affected remain “risk patients” even after the treatment. Because periodontitis is a chronic disease.

Two thirds of the elderly affected
For the fifth time, the Barmer GEK has carried out the German oral health study and found that more than half of middle-aged adults in Germany are affected by periodontitis. According to the Barmer GEK, many of those affected have no idea of ​​their illness. Almost two thirds of the elderly are affected, which corresponds to more than five million people in this age group alone. And only around half of those insured by law take part in a periodontitis examination at least once in a second room of two years. Only 1.2 million men and women (two percent of the insured) underwent such therapy in 2015.

Periodontitis often leads to tooth loss
"Even though not everyone affected needs therapy every year, there is a clear discrepancy between those suffering from periodontitis and those treated," emphasizes study author Prof. Michael Walter, director of the Dresden Polyclinic for Dental Prosthetics at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus. This is particularly worrying, since the success of the therapy becomes increasingly uncertain as the disease progresses. According to the Barmer GEK, around a third of the patients suffer from tooth loss within four years despite appropriate treatment.

Early detection and aftercare are particularly important
According to the experts, the annual visit to the dentist is also important in terms of periodontitis prevention. However, according to the figures in the Barmer Zahnreport, only around 72 percent of the insured go to the dentist at least once a year. For example, periodontitis is often discovered late. The early detection and follow-up examinations of periodontitis in people with diabetes are particularly important, reports the Barmer GEK. For example, diabetics are affected much more often by tooth removal after periodontitis therapy. "The risk for young diabetics is more than twice as high as for non-diabetics of the same age," emphasizes Prof. Straub.

Consequence of a dental hygiene problem
Given the increased risk of diabetes, the CEO of Barmer GEK suggests that regular dental checks for periodontitis should become part of the existing structured treatment programs for diabetics. But not only diabetics, but all citizens should be well advised if they follow the guiding principle: “Prevention is the be-all and end-all of good dental health.” Periodontitis usually also results from a dental hygiene problem. The disease can therefore often be avoided in a simple manner. In short, "No plaque, no periodontitis," said the CEO of Barmer GEK. Here, consistent brushing of teeth and regular use of check-ups are the prerequisites for healthy teeth.

Do not neglect dental health
For good reason, according to the Barmer GEK, a general check-up at the dentist is paid every six months, once a year the removal of the tartar and every two years a periodontitis screening index (periodontal screening index; PSI) is paid for by the health insurance companies. The regular examinations are well suited to detect the onset of periodontitis and thus to initiate further treatments at an early stage. Study author Prof. Walter "expressly appeals to all citizens not to neglect dental health and to go to the dentist at the first warning signals such as bleeding gums and swollen and reddened gums." Inflammation of the gums or beginning periodontitis were still easy and painless to treat. However, it becomes much more complicated if the disease is already well advanced.

Regional differences in periodontitis therapies
In the current dental report from Barmer, considerable regional differences in dealing with tooth bed diseases are also evident. For example, while only 0.9 percent of the insured received therapy in Saarland, it was more than twice as many (2.1 percent) in North Rhine-Westphalia, reports the health insurance company. According to Prof. Walter, this difference has been observed for several years, but the causes cannot be explained using the report data.

What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis or inflammation of the tooth bed is a chronic inflammation of the tooth structure, in which tissue and bone are destroyed over a long period of time. In the end, tooth loss threatens. A connection with various other diseases was also found. For example, a study last year concluded that women who develop periodontitis after menopause are at increased risk of breast cancer. Periodontitis is caused by deposits on the teeth and in the gaps, which the body first tries to ward off with gingivitis. Without treatment, the inflammation can penetrate into deeper tissues and cause periodontitis.

Periodontitis difficult to detect for laypeople
According to the Barmer GEK, “smokers, diabetics, people with a weakened immune system and a lot of stress are particularly at risk.” However, for laypeople it is difficult to tell whether there is just gum infection or periodontitis. "It is therefore important to seek professional help with the first warning signals," emphasize the experts. Such warning signals form bleeding gums, swelling, redness and bad breath, for example. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: Tooth Loss due to Periodontal Gum Disease. (July 2022).


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