Periodontics is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease (gum disease), and treats the tissues that surround your teeth.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease occurs when bacteria in your mouth causes the gums to become red, swollen and inflamed. If left untreated, it can become much more serious, pulling the inner layer of the gums to pull away from teeth, forming pockets and causing infection and potentially permanent gum and bone damage. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and can be brought on by poor oral hygiene, illness and bad habits which lead to plaque buildup. Some symptoms include:

  • Sensitive, red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Pockets between teeth and gums
  • Receding gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Trouble eating

What treatment options are out there?

With periodontics, you have several options for treating your gum disease. The best option for you will depend on the stage of the disease and your overall health. Some are non-invasive, while others involve reconstructive surgery to restore the tissues. Treatments include:

Professional dental cleaning. Cleanings at your dental office are recommended at least twice a year. During a typical checkup, the hygienist removes any plaque or tartar that has built up from above and below your dental gum line.

Scaling and root planing. During this procedure, your dentist will clean the root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar from the periodontal pockets. He or she will then remove bacteria by smoothing out the root of the tooth or teeth. Most of the time, patients will not require further treatment, but should still continue maintenance therapy and proper oral hygiene practices.

Bone grafts. This is a surgical procedure that regenerates any bone destroyed by the disease. Using fragments of your own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone, the dentist replaces these lost parts, restoring the stability of your teeth.

Pocket reduction surgery. When a patient has periodontal disease, that bone and gum tissue surrounding teeth is worn down, creating pockets around the teeth. For this procedure, your dentist will fold back the gum tissue and remove bacteria before securing that tissue back into place. Sometimes, he or she will have to smooth out irregular surfaces of the bone to limit space for bacteria to build up. The gum tissue will then be able to reattach to the bone.

Soft tissue grafts. Those that have periodontal disease may see the gums receding. This surgery takes gum tissue from your palate to cover the exposed root or roots, evening out the gum line. Soft tissue grafts may also reduce further recession and bone loss, and potentially protect exposed root from decay.

These are just a few of the many treatment possibilities for periodontal disease. If you are experiencing the effects of gum disease, schedule your appointment with one of our specialists to find out which procedure is right for you.


Courtesy of the Academy of Periodontology

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