What is periodontics?

Periodontics refers to the management and treatment of diseases that afflict the gums and other supporting tissues. Some of these diseases include:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis

What are gingivitis and periodontitis? What are some of their symptoms?

Gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gums. This is an infection that occurs due to bacterial accumulation on the teeth.

Symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Bright red swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Halitosis
  • Receding gums

Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that will damage the soft tissue and can destroy the bone that forms the support structure for your teeth. It is a common progression from gingivitis if left untreated. It is quite common but can largely be prevented through the observance of good oral hygiene practices.

Symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Swollen, bright red gums
  • Painful gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Shift in bite

If you have these symptoms, see a dental specialist immediately.

How are gingivitis and periodontitis treated?

For gingivitis, plaque is removed from the teeth through scaling. This may be uncomfortable as gums may be swollen and sensitive at this point. In order to avoid gingivitis, patients are encouraged to brush teeth at least twice a day. They are also encouraged to floss their teeth at least once a day and use an antiseptic mouthwash after meals.

For periodontitis, plaque can harden under the gumline and has become tartar or calculus. This is much harder to remove and pockets under your gums and teeth may become filled with bacteria and tartar.

For non-advanced forms of periodontitis, non-invasive surgeries like scaling and root planning may be prescribed.

For advanced forms of periodontitis, treatment may come in the forms of dental surgery.

Some of these surgeries include:

  • Flap Surgery
    Your periodontist will have to make tiny incisions in your gums so that the roots are exposed. This allows the specialist to clean the areas more thoroughly.
  • Soft tissue grafts
    As periodontitis may cause tissue loss, you may need to have some of that soft tissue loss addressed. Tissue from the roof of your mouth is grafted onto your gums, covering the exposed roots and preventing them from further infection.
  • Bone grafting
    In order to prevent tooth loss, bone may have to be grafted (either your own or a donor’s) onto areas of the bone structure that are too weak to provide structure for the tooth.