ROBERTO ROZZA, LUCA FRANCETTI, ELENA MAGGIORE, ANGELA MALERBA
Dipartimento di Medicina, Chirurgia e Odontoiatria, Ospedale “San Paolo”, Università degli Studi di Milano
PERIODONTAL DISEASES IN CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE
Key words: Periodontitis, Gingivitis, Early onset periodontitis, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans
Persistent gingival inflammation is frequent in childhood and adolescence. The main cause
is the accumulation of plaque in the cervical portion of the teeth, and consequent bacterial
growth. Gingivitis in children is usually limited to junctional epithelium and is less severe. In
adolescence phlogosis is more important due to increased periodontal vascolarization. In
periodontitis, alveolar bone lesions accompany the gingival lesion. Prepuberal periodontitis
which accompanies eruption of permanent teeth and juvenile periodontitis are comprised
in Early Onset Periodontitis (EOP) and represent approximately 1% of all cases. The prepuberal
form is very severe, usually associated to neutrophil dysfunctions. Juvenile form includes
3 subgroups; the so-called attachment loss, which is limited to very few teeth; a localized
form, usually affecting the incisors; and a generalized, often rapidly progressive form.
In EOP, which certainly also has an immunogenetic background, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans
plays a very important role. Hypotheses on the patogenesis of EOP are discussed.