Early-onset periodontitis

Ann Periodontol. 1999 Dec;4(1):39-53. doi: 10.1902/annals.1999.4.1.39.


In 1993, the 1st European Workshop on Periodontology explicitly recognized that there was insufficient knowledge to differentiate truly different forms of periodontal disease from differences in the presentation/severity of the same disease. In spite of recent progress in our understanding of periodontal diseases, the issue is far from having been resolved. Classification of periodontal diseases, therefore, remains based upon the definition of specific clinical syndromes. Early-onset periodontitis (EOP) is one such syndrome and comprises a group of pathological conditions leading to loss of periodontal tissues early in life. The notion that classifies periodontitis syndromes as "early-onset" or "adult" is primarily epidemiological in nature and is based on the observation that periodontitis is rather infrequent in children and young adults. Nevertheless, considerable epidemiological evidence indicates that periodontitis does affect children and young adults to a level of severity that may lead to premature exfoliation of primary and/or permanent teeth. Clinical presentation of periodontitis early in the life of an individual is thought to indicate that the etiologic agents have been able to cause considerable tissue damage over a relatively short period of time. It also implies either infection with highly virulent bacteria and/or a highly susceptible subject. The purpose of this review is to discuss the criteria generally utilized to classify EOP, provide the rationale to designate EOP as a distinct disease entity, and to review the evidence justifying a subclassification into particular subgroups of EOP.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggressive Periodontitis / classification*
  • Child
  • Disease Susceptibility / complications
  • Humans
  • Periodontitis / classification
  • Periodontitis / etiology