Assessing Chronic Periodontitis
By Vandana Kumar, DDS, MDS, MS, and Kirandeep Arora, DDS, BDS
Chronic periodontitis is an inflammatory destruction of the supporting apparatus of the teeth. It results in inflammation and destruction of alveolar bone and the periodontal fibers that insert into cementum, thereby exposing cementum to dental plaque within a periodontal pocket. If left unchecked, the mechanical stability of a tooth may become compromised, or the localized chronic infection may become acute—both resulting in tooth loss. Early detection of the signs of chronic periodontitis is essential to halting disease progression and improving outcomes. As such, clinicians should be familiar with the subclassifications of chronic periodontitis, the tools used to assess and interpret its location and severity, and how to document anatomic changes over time.