What is periodontics?
Periodontics is a field of dentistry that focuses on the supporting structures of the tooth. These structures include:
1. Soft tissue (gingival tissues or “gum”)
2. Alveolar bone (bone that support the teeth or dental implants)
3. Lesions of the soft and hard tissues
Periodontics specializes in diagnosing and treating common issues such as gingivitis, periodontitis, gingival recession, surgical placement of dental implants, and a host of other procedures related to correcting diseased soft tissue or esthetic management of the soft tissue.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the irritation of the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. It usually presents as red, swollen tissue that readily bleeds and is generally very tender to touch. Often it is a result of poor oral hygiene and is a reversible condition with proper treatment and lifestyle changes.
What is periodontal disease or periodontitis?
Periodontitis is an inflammatory response of the body which involves bone loss around the teeth. Often it is a result of untreated long-term gingivitis and may have a systemic component. Once diagnosed, treatment can involve a deep cleaning or surgical intervention.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of periodontal disease include: sore gums, bleeding gums, bad breath, loose teeth, red gums, irritated gums, and a predominance of plaque and/or tartar build up.
How is it diagnosed?
Disease is diagnosed from a thorough clinical and radiographic examination which will include periodontal charting of the dentition. Periodontal charting measures 6 points on each tooth, checks for the presence of bleeding while probing, and any deviation from normal tissue height and appearance. A specially designed probe is used to check for pocket depths and the presence of bleeding is noted. Pocket depths greater than 3mm can indicate the possible presence of bone loss and active disease. Bleeding is also an accurate indicator of the disease.