What is periodontics?

Periodontics is one of the nine fields of dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association®. It focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gum disease and related conditions that affect the soft oral tissues and supporting bone of your jaws.

What is a periodontist?

A periodontist is a type of dental specialist. Periodontists receive three years of additional training following dental school in order to provide treatment for gum disease and other dental conditions affecting your soft tissues and supporting jawbone. This training also includes implant placement.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an oral condition that affects the gums and supporting structures in your mouth. It begins as a bacterial infection of the gums and gradually progresses until it destroys your gums and bone structure. The milder stage of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis, while the more severe form of the disease is known as periodontitis. You should be checked for periodontal disease each time you visit a dentist.

What causes periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by the harmful bacteria trapped in plaque. As plaque hardens into calculus (tartar), the disease becomes more established in your mouth. Gum attachments begin to separate from your teeth and create pockets that harbor these harmful bacteria. If gum disease is allowed to progress without treatment, the condition may become irreversible.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

Symptoms of periodontal disease include:

Can I develop periodontal disease without experiencing pain?

Yes. In fact, many cases of periodontal disease reach advanced stages of development without the patient feeling any pain or discomfort. For this reason, it is important that you visit the dentist regularly. Your dentist will be able to identify the signs of periodontal disease and recommend an appropriate treatment to halt the disease before it can cause serious damage.

Is periodontal disease treatable?

Gum disease is preventable with good oral hygiene and preventive care. If diagnosed in the early stages of development, it can be successfully treated. However, if your gum disease progresses to a more advanced and damaging stage, it may never successfully be removed from your mouth. There is a variety of treatments available to help you effectively manage periodontal disease, and our periodontist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs. Common treatments include:

Who is at risk for developing gum disease?

You may have an increased risk of developing periodontal disease if you:

What can I do at home to prevent periodontal disease?

The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene at home. We recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Ideally, you should brush after each meal and before going to bed at night. You should also floss daily. We recommend that you visit your dentist at least twice each year for routine dental cleanings and exams.

What is the connection between periodontal disease and overall health?

Your oral and overall health are very closely connected. If you have periodontal disease, you increase your risk of developing or exacerbating a serious medical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease or osteoporosis. If you have a preexisting condition such as those previously listed, it is also more likely that you will develop gum disease. Women who are pregnant are also at risk of developing periodontal disease. Expecting mothers should make sure to visit their dentist regularly during their pregnancy, as gum disease while pregnant can lead to premature and low birth weight babies.

What is gum recession?

Gum recession is a condition, usually caused by periodontal disease or overaggressive brushing, where the edge of the gum recedes or draws back from the root of the tooth, exposing more of your tooth structure. This eventually leads to a loss of supporting bone and attachment tissues and can cause you to lose teeth. There are several treatments available to halt gum recession and restore healthy gum tissue to your mouth, including soft tissue grafting.

What are periodontal pockets?

Periodontal pockets are spaces between the gums and teeth. Normally, bone and gum tissue fit snugly around the teeth. Gum disease destroys this supporting bone and tissue, leading to the formation of pockets where bacteria can collect and cause further damage.

Why do I have to return so often after my treatment is over?

After being treated for periodontal disease, you will require regular periodontal maintenance to help keep your mouth healthy. Our periodontist will recommend a schedule of regular visits to clean your mouth and help you prevent gum disease from returning.

Are children at risk for developing gum disease?

Periodontal disease is rarely found in children and teenagers. However, children should learn how to properly care for their teeth while young so that they develop the good oral habits that help to prevent gum disease in the future. This includes daily flossing, brushing at least twice a day and visiting the dentist regularly.

How much will my periodontal treatment cost?

The cost of your treatment will depend on the type of treatment you receive. During your initial consultation, our periodontist will work with you to determine which type of treatment will be most beneficial for you and develop a treatment plan that meets your unique needs. We will then be able to provide you with an estimate of your treatment cost.