Periodontal diseases in the child and adolescent.
BACKGROUND: Periodontal diseases are among the most frequent diseases affecting children and adolescents. These include gingivitis, localized or generalized aggressive periodontitis (a.k.a., early onset periodontitis which includes generalized or localized prepubertal periodontitis and juvenile periodontitis) and periodontal diseases associated with systemic disorders. The best approach to managing periodontal diseases is prevention, followed by early detection and treatment. METHODS: This paper reviews the current literature concerning the most common periodontal diseases affecting children: chronic gingivitis (or dental plaque-induced gingival diseases) and early onset periodontitis (or aggressive periodontitis), including prepubertal and juvenile periodontitis. In addition, systemic diseases that affect the periodontium and oral lesions commonly found in young children are addressed. The prevalence, diagnostic characteristics, microbiology, host-related factors, and therapeutic management of each of these disease entities are thoroughly discussed.