Periodontics is a dental specialty that relates to the prevention, diagnosis and successful remedy for gum disease and the damage to the underlying bone that it can cause. These structure anchor teeth in place, and periodontists have several years more training that other dentists in maintaining the health, function and look of these structures.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that starts with some mild gum inflammation called gingivitis. It is a top cause of tooth loss and must be taken seriously. The first noticeable symptoms are often swollen, red and painful gums that bleed, but in some cases no symptoms are noticeable.
The disease starts when bacteria in plaque create an infection in the tissue that surrounds the teeth, causing pain and irritation. If not treated, this infection can spread to the jawbone and cause tooth loosening and loss as well as gum recession.
Periodontal treatment services might be necessary as part of:
- Moderate to advanced gum disease. When gums are swollen, red or bleeding around most teeth and jawbone recession has begun.
- Localized gum recession. Located in only one area of the mouth, this type of gum recession can be caused by brushing too much or too vigorously or improper tooth positioning. Immediate treatment can prevent spreading of the condition.
- Preparing for crown lengthening. Removing soft tissue to allow for greater tooth exposure is common before a procedure to lengthen the crown of the tooth.
- Ridge augmentation. Often called recontouring, this can correct an uneven gum line. But before this treatment can happen, bacterial infections and periodontitis must be cleared up.
When periodontal problems are mild to moderate, the focus is likely to be on getting rid of the underlying infection and offering advice on the best home cleaning methods to maintain good oral health.
In some cases, a deep scaling procedure can remove plaque and tartar and improve overall periodontal health. When the disease is advanced and jawbone recession has happened, a more intensive cleaning procedure may be needed, and teeth that cannot be saved will have to be removed.
A periodontist is also an expert in dental implants that can restore function to a mouth that has been impacted by periodontitis and other conditions. Because periodontal disease is a progressive condition, it is important to get rid of bacteria and tartar to stop the spread of the infection. A dentist can help you decide if you need periodontal or other treatment for dental health issues.