The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical course of early onset periodontitis and to investigate factors which may influence its clinical course. For the past 15 years we have been conducting a study of families with early onset periodontitis, and have examined 142 localized juvenile periodontitis and 185 severe generalized early onset periodontitis patients. In order to study the clinical course of early onset periodontitis we recalled our subject population to determine their periodontal status. Forty (40) patients with localized early onset periodontitis (LJP) and 48 with generalized early onset periodontitis (SP) were re-examined. The time since the most recent visit for LJP patients was approximately 3 years and for SP patients almost 4 years. LJP patients who received periodontal therapy on the average gained periodontal attachment. In contrast, LJP patients who did not receive therapy lost periodontal attachment. SP patients lost periodontal attachment regardless of whether or not they had periodontal therapy. SP patients also lost an average of one tooth during the approximately 4 years of observation. LJP patients lost very few teeth with only 4 teeth being lost in 40 patients. The results of this study suggest that localized juvenile periodontitis is a stable disease in most individuals. In contrast, patients with severe generalized early onset periodontitis continued to lose both periodontal attachment and teeth.
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