Principles of Periodontology
Periodontal diseases are among the most common diseases affecting humans. Dental biofilm is a contributor to the etiology of most periodontal diseases. It is also widely accepted that immunological and inflammatory responses to biofilm components are manifested by signs and symptoms of periodontal disease. The outcome of such interaction is modulated by risk factors (modifiers), either inherent (genetic) or acquired (environmental), significantly affecting the initiation and progression of different periodontal disease phenotypes. While definitive genetic determinants responsible for either susceptibility or resistance to periodontal disease have yet to be identified, many factors affecting the pathogenesis have been described, including smoking, diabetes, obesity, medications, and nutrition. Currently, periodontal diseases are classified based upon clinical disease traits using radiographs and clinical examination. Advances in genomics, molecular biology, and personalized medicine may result in new guidelines for unambiguous disease definition and diagnosis in the future. Recent studies have implied relationships between periodontal diseases and systemic conditions. Answering critical questions regarding host‐parasite interactions in periodontal diseases may provide new insight in the pathogenesis of other biomedical disorders. Therapeutic efforts have focused on the microbial nature of the infection, as active treatment centers on biofilm disruption by non‐surgical mechanical debridement with antimicrobial and sometimes anti‐inflammatory adjuncts. The surgical treatment aims at gaining access to periodontal lesions and correcting unfavorable gingival/osseous contours to achieve a periodontal architecture that will provide for more effective oral hygiene and periodontal maintenance. In addition, advances in tissue engineering have provided innovative means to regenerate/repair periodontal defects, based upon principles of guided tissue regeneration and utilization of growth factors/biologic mediators. To maintain periodontal stability, these treatments need to be supplemented with long‐term maintenance (supportive periodontal therapy) programs.