The term “periodontics” refers to the dental specialty that pertains to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease that affects the gums and jawbone. The gum tissues serve to surround and support the teeth and the underlying jawbone anchors teeth firmly in place. Periodontists have completed several years of extra dental training and are concerned with maintaining the function, health and aesthetics of the jawbone and tissues.
Reasons for periodontal treatment
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which begins with mild gum inflammation called gingivitis. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults living in the developed world, and should be taken very seriously. Periodontal disease (often called gum disease) is typically signified by red, swollen, painful, or bleeding gums, but in some cases has no noticeable symptoms.
Periodontal disease generally begins when the bacteria living in plaque cause an infection in the surrounding tissues of the teeth, causing them to become irritated and painful. Eventually, this infection will cause the jawbone to recede and the tooth to become loose.
There are several reasons why periodontal treatment may be necessary:
Moderate/advanced gum disease – This occurs when the gums around the teeth are infected and the jawbone has begun to recede. Treatment is necessary to prevent tooth loss.
Gum recession – The infection which propagates moderate or advanced gum disease often begins in one area causing gum recession. Gum recession may also be caused due to over brushing with a hard bristle brush, or due to a tooth that is not positioned properly. Immediate treatment is required to prevent further recession of the gum which could lead to tooth loss.
Crown lengthening – The periodontist may lengthen the crown of the tooth by removing surrounding tissue to provide more tooth exposure so that the general dentist can successfully place a crown.
To improve appearance– The periodontist may recontour the gums to correct an uneven gum line or eliminate a gummy smile.
In the case of mild/moderate periodontal problems, the focus of the periodontist will be on curing the underlying bacterial infection and then providing advice on the most appropriate home cleaning methods.
Sometimes a deep scaling is needed to remove the bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar) from the teeth and tissues. Where periodontal disease is advanced and the jawbone has regressed significantly, more intensive treatment may be recommended and loose teeth that cannot be saved will be removed.
The periodontist is trained in all aspects of dental implant procedures, which can restore functionality to the mouth when teeth have been affected by periodontitis.
Because periodontal disease is progressive, it is essential to remove the bacteria and calculus build up to halt the spread of the infection. Our office will be happy to advise you on effective cleaning methods and treatment options.