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.
Periodontics is a branch of dentistry that treats conditions and diseases of the supporting structures of the teeth, especially the gums. Periodontists commonly treat severe cases of oral inflammation including gum disease.
Periodontal treatment is concerned with keeping the gums and bone around the teeth healthy. This involves the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal, or gum disease. Periodontists perform various procedures on the gums and surrounding tissue within the mouth.
Most periodontal treatments focus on treating gum or periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an advanced stage of gum disease caused by a build-up of plaque and bacteria between the teeth and gums. When left untreated, the gums become swollen and infected and may bleed easily. As gum disease progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult and painful to treat. Periodontal disease can also lead to tooth loss.
Plaque Control Treatment
Most cases of periodontal disease develop because of bacterial plaque that builds up on the teeth over time. When it is not removed, plaque hardens and causes tartar to develop, which cannot be removed through brushing at home. The tissues and bone that support the teeth are gradually destroyed by this process.
A dentist or periodontist can perform a thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums which can assist in controlling the spread of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. This type of professional cleaning should be performed every six months to ensure healthy teeth and gums.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
A patient is normally referred to a periodontist to treat periodontal disease. Treatment may include:
Scaling and root planing – A deep-cleaning method that removes bacteria from below the gum line and the tooth root.
Medication – Antibiotics or antimicrobial medications may be used to fight infection and reduce the size of the gum pockets that have occurred because of periodontitis.
Surgery – If other methods of treatment are ineffective, flap surgery may be performed to lift away gum tissue so that it can be cleaned underneath. Gum or bone grafts may also be performed to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that may have been damaged or lost due to periodontitis.
Patients can reduce their risk of developing gum disease by practicing proper oral hygiene. This includes thoroughly brushing the teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding smoking can also help maintain dental health. Seeing a dentist for a professional cleaning on a regular basis is essential to maintaining good dental as they can remove plaque and other substances that have built up on the teeth over time.
Periodontics Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth. Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that is brushed and flossed away with proper oral care. When left on the teeth, plaque produces toxins that attack below the gum line in the sulcus, a shallow V-shaped crevice between the tooth and gums. This causes the bond between teeth and gums to break down. If left untreated, periodontal disease may also cause tooth loss.
Are There Different Kinds Of Periodontal Disease?
Yes. In the early stage of gum disease, also known as gingivitis, gums may become red and swollen, and bleed easily. In the more advanced stage, referred to as periodontal disease or periodontitis, teeth can loosen and even fall out. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are essential in prevention and early detection of gum disease.
What Are The Signs Of Periodontal Disease?
Signs of periodontal disease include:
- Gums that are red, swollen, tender, bleed easily or have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way the teeth fit together
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
Sometimes there are no warning signs, making proper dental hygiene and regular visits to the dentist very important.
What Increases The Risk For Periodontal Disease?
The risk of developing periodontal disease may be related to the following habits and conditions:
- Tobacco smoking or chewing
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
- Medications such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs and calcium channel blockers
- Pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives
- Crooked teeth
- Worn bridges or fillings
What Is The Treatment For Periodontal Disease?
A patient is normally referred to a periodontist, who treats periodontal disease. Periodontitis is treated based on its severity and progression. Treatments may include:
Scaling And Root Planing
This is a deep-cleaning method that removes bacteria from below the gum line and the tooth root.
Antibiotics or antimicrobial medications may be used to fight infection, and reduce the size of the gum pockets that have developed because of periodontitis.
If other methods of treatment are ineffective, flap surgery may be performed to lift away gum tissue so that it can be cleaned underneath. Gum or bone grafts may also be performed to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that has been damaged or lost due to periodontitis.
Can Periodontal Disease Be Prevented?
Plaque is the most common cause of periodontal disease that can be prevented with proper dental hygiene. Other recommendations to prevent periodontal disease include:
- Don’t smoke
- Eat a healthy diet
- Floss and brush teeth daily
- See a dentist regularly
It is important to see a dentist promptly if experiencing the signs of gum disease to prevent more serious complications from occurring.