Chronic periodontitis is one of the seven categories of periodontitis as defined by the American Academy of Periodontology 1999 classification system. Chronic periodontitis is a common disease of the oral cavity consisting of chronic inflammation of the periodontal tissues that is caused by the accumulation of profuse amounts of dental plaque. Periodontitis initially begins as gingivitis and can progress onto chronic and subsequent aggressive periodontitis according to the 1999 classification.
Diagnosing chronic periodontitis is important in its early stages to prevent severe and irreversible damage to the protective and supportive structures of the tooth. However, due to chronic periodontitis being a painless progressing disease, few patients will seek dental care in the early stages. Mild to moderate chronic periodontitis can be managed by the proper mechanical removal of the biofilm and calculus subgingivally. Full and effective oral hygiene and regular 3 monthly periodontal checkups are important for maintaining the stability of the disease.
Chronic periodontitis is prevalent in adults and seniors worldwide. In the US around 35% of adults (30–90 years) are affected. The cumulative effects of alveolar bone loss, attachment loss, and pocket formation are more apparent with an increase in age. Age is related to the incidence of periodontal destruction: “…in a well-maintained population who practices oral home care and has regular check-ups, the incidence of incipient periodontal destruction increases with age, the highest rate occurs between 50 and 60 years, and gingival recession is the predominant lesion before 40 years, while periodontal pocketing is the principal mode of destruction between 50 and 60 years of age.”
There are a variety of periodontal risk factors that can affect the prevalence, rate, extent, and severity of the disease progression. Major risk factors include smoking, lack of oral hygiene with inadequate plaque biofilm control.