Periodontics is a specialised area of dentistry, and deals in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, that is, the treatment of gum inflammation. Your dentist is familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease.
We treat more problematic periodontal cases, such as those with severe gum disease or a complex medical history, and offer a wide range of treatments, such as scaling and root planing (in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned) or root surface debridement (in which damaged tissue is removed). We can also treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures, and are specially trained in the placement and repair of dental implants.
During the first visit, the Dentist usually reviews the patient’s complete medical and dental histories, and it is extremely important for the periodontist to know if any medications are being taken or if the patient is being treated for any condition that can affect periodontal care, such as heart disease, diabetes, or pregnancy.
The Periodontist examines the gums, checks to see if there is any gum line recession, assesses how the teeth fit together when biting, and checks the teeth to see if any are loose. They will also take a small measuring instrument called a probe and place it between the teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets, which helps to assess the health of the gums. X-rays may also be taken to observe the health of the bone below the gum line.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease, causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily, and there is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene, but is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, aging, genetics, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, infection, and certain medications.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, where over time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected, and as the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms, but teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.