Periodontology is the science dealing with diseases of the supportive tissues of the teeth (the periodontal tissues), i.e. gingiva, periodontal ligament, cementum and alveolar bone. The most common diseases are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a state of inflammation of the gingiva. Usually, this condition is reversible which implies that succesful treatment will leave no damage to the tissue. However, under certain circumstances gingivitis may turn into periodontitis characterized by deepened gingival pockets and destruction of the periodontal ligament and neighbouring alveolar bone.
The susceptibility to - and progression of - periodontal disease is subject to great individual variations. If early treatment is implemented, the effects of the disease may be halted or limited for a great majority of the population. Still, in as much as 10% of the population disease progression may be difficult to control and loss of teeth may be unavoidable. This aggressive form of the disease can be seen in adolescents and even in the prepubertal period and may continue on into adulthood. Periodontitis is caused by bacterial accumulations (plaque, biofilm) on the surface of the teeth. If the biofilm is removed daily, periodontal disease can often be prevented. However, a satisfactory explanation of the vast differences in predisposition and progression of the disease is still lacking.
Based on the results of previous and current research the overall aim of teaching periodontology is to enable the students to prevent, diagnose and treat periodontal diseases in otherwise healthy patients. In cases with known general diseases the students must be able to determine whether treatment is necessary and refer to the relevant treatment.
Treatment must be based on the biology of the periodontium and on the present knowledge regarding the aetiology of periodontal diseases, their pathology and pathogenesis and treatment methods. Furthermore, it is an educational aim that the students gain knowledge and professional attitude that will enable them to act responsibly according to scientific background and ethical standards of the Danish health authorities.
More specifically, the students must be able to:
- inform about the biology of the periodontium and the aetiology, pathogenesis and pathology of periodontal diseases and their treatment in otherwise healthy patients and in patients with established general diseases.
- account for the theoretical basis of treatment methods, disease indices and the prognosis of periodontal diseases and apply the knowledge to treatment of patients with periodontal disease.
- diagnose and register pathological conditions of the periodontium as well as account for differences from the healthy condition.
- inform the patient about the reasons for the development of periodontitis and how to prevent the disease.
- inform the patient about treatment options and guide the patient in his/her choice of treatment.
- establish a treatment plan for the patient in which both periodontal and other dental treatments are accounted for in a feasible sequence and at the same time to ensure that the plan is in accordance with the desires and financial abilities of the patient.
- perform periodontal treatment using methods adapted to other relevant dental treatment.
- evaluate the result of the treatment and establish a prognosis for the periodontium.
- plan and carry out the necessary maintenance treatment.