Our teeth are supported by bone and tissues (including gums and ligaments) around it. Bacteria can penetrate these areas causing inflammation and when left untreated can lead to disease causing the bone and tissues to breakdown and eventual tooth loss. Periodontics is a branch of dentistry that treats conditions and diseases of the teeth’s supporting structures, especially the gums. Periodontists commonly treat severe cases of oral inflammation, including gum disease.
Periodontics is a dental specialty. Periodontics typically focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease. Gum disease is a broad term that encompasses several different conditions. Your periodontist has received extra training beyond dental school (a 3 year residency from an accredited university) in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of periodontal disease. Dr. Camacho is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology, a recognized specialty of the American Dental Association and is Board Certified in Periodontology and Dental Implant Surgery. Therefore, your periodontist is trained in the latest techniques/therapies/treatments in combating this disease. Periodontists treat different phases of gum disease, including:
Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that causes the gums to swell, redden, and bleed easily due to inflammation. Gingivitis often results from a buildup of plaque and bacteria on the teeth caused by poor hygiene. It may also be a side effect of certain drugs or infections, or poor nutrition. Patients do not usually experience pain or discomfort, but should seek prompt treatment when symptoms arise because of potential complications.
Periodontitis often develops as a result of untreated gingivitis. If plaque spreads below the gum line, it can create toxins that may chronically inflame the gums and bone, eventually destroying them. Periodontitis can lead to the formation of pockets that are susceptible to frequent infections, and can continue to destroy the gums and bone. There are several types of periodontitis, some of which include:
This condition occurs most often in healthy patients who have a sudden onset of the disease, and experience rapid bone destruction and pocket formation.
Chronic periodontitis is the most common form of the disease. It results in progressive detachment and bone loss, gradually causing pocket formation and gum recession.
Periodontitis From Systemic Diseases
Periodontitis sometimes develops as a side effect of other conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes. These cases usually begin at a young age.
Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
This condition is an infection caused by necrosis of the supporting structures within the teeth, and commonly affects people with other systemic conditions.
Surgical Periodontal Therapies
Periodontists perform different procedures and, at times, surgery, to treat different conditions within the mouth and gums. Procedures that a periodontist may perform include:
Scaling And Root Planing
This procedure is often known as a “deep cleaning.” For periodontitis patients, it is necessary to remove the infection. When left untreated, periodontal bacteria form plaque and can harden into tartar on the teeth and below the gum-line. Therefore, a deep cleaning will be performed to remove the source of the infection. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the gums and the roots of the teeth.
Just like many chronic diseases, periodontal health can be improved with proper care and monitoring. While you will still have the disease, you can keep it in check. Routine periodontal maintenance is important in order to make sure the infection stays under control. Therefore, your doctor will work with you about a routine maintenance program.
Laser Periodontal Therapy
This is an alternative to traditional periodontal therapy. Using a specialized laser, your doctor will destroy invading bacteria while also eliminating diseased tissue. This action encourages the body to heal by reattaching tissues to the teeth and in some cases can potentially regrow bone.
Pocket Reduction Surgery
This is a surgical treatment performed in order to reduce the gap size between the teeth and bone. By reducing the gap size, it eliminates potential areas for the bacteria that cause the infection to bind to and cause disease.
Root Surface Debridement
This is a procedure to remove damaged tissue. Debridement may be performed using ultrasonic instruments or hand tools.
This is a procedure that lifts away gum tissue so that it can be cleaned underneath. It is often performed when gum disease cannot be cured by antibiotics, or by root planing and scaling.
Gum Or Bone Grafts
Gum or bone grafts may be performed to help regenerate bone or gum tissue that has been damaged or lost due to periodontitis.
When patients lose teeth as a result of periodontal disease or other reasons, they may choose dental implants to restore the missing teeth. Dental implants are a major part of periodontics because they are fused to the bone within the gums. Implants act as a natural root for replacement structures, and require the same care and prevention against periodontal disease as other teeth.
Many people are affected by periodontal disease and gum-related conditions. It is important to see a periodontist promptly if experiencing signs of gum disease to prevent more serious complications from occurring.