What is Periodontics?

What Is Periodontology?
Periodontology is one of the eight dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. It is an entire branch of dentistry dedicated to studying the soft tissues and bone supporting the teeth, researching new techniques for treating periodontal diseases, and replacing teeth lost to periodontal disease with dental implants.

Who Is A Periodontist?
Periodontists are dental specialists who are experts in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. They are also trained in the planning, placement, and maintenance of dental implants. After periodontists complete dental school, they continue their education for 3 more years to obtain a postdoctoral certificate in periodontics and limit their practices to this specialty.

Why You Need A Periodontal Screening
Periodontal disease is typically a result of bacterial infection that affects the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. A periodontal screening is an easy way for the Periodontist to determine the state of your periodontal health. During this screening, a small measuring probe is gently placed between your tooth and gum to assess your periodontal health. Early detection and treatment of periodontal disease can help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Warning Signs Of Periodontal Disease
- When gums bleed during brushing
- Swollen, red or tender gums
- Longer teeth
- Pus appears when pressing the gums
- Loose teeth
- Change in position of teeth
- Change in the way your teeth fit when you bite
- Bad breath or bad taste

What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease typically starts by a bacterial infection that destroys the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease progresses silently, often without pain or symptoms. It may develop slowly or progress rapidly. Nine out of ten people are afflicted with some form of periodontal disease in their lifetime. Periodontal disease affects more than half the population over 18 years of age. After 35, approximately three out of four adults develop some form of gum disease.

How Does Periodontal Disease Develop?
Bacteria called plaque forms at the point where the teeth meet the gums, as well as between the teeth. If it is not removed daily, the bacteria create an infection. Unremoved plaque hardens into Calculus ("tartar"), a tough gritty deposit which, because of its roughness, collects more plaque. Calculus can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygenist. If plaque is allowed to develop, an inflamation of the gums occurs called gingivitis. As gingivitis worsens, gums begin to pull away and recede from the teeth. Pockets of bacteria form and deepen, reaching the bone and destroying the bone that anchors the teeth. The advanced stage of this disease is called periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss if not treated. Other causes of periodontal disease, aside from plaque (the chief cause), are conditions affecting the immune system such as diabetes, hormonal changes, thyroid malfunction, and pregnancy. Some medications significantly affect the gums. Heavy tooth brushing can cause significant recession or root exposure.

Diagnosis Of Periodontal Disease
During checkup, the periodontist uses an instrument called a periodontal probe. This determines if there is any breakdown in the attachment of the gums to the teeth, or early development of pockets between the teeth and gums. The depth of the pockets is measured in millimeters with the periodontal probe. Up to three millimeters without root exposure is considered normal, deeper than three millimeters indicates a potential problem. X-rays are taken if there is concern over possible bone destruction.

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Dr. Marc Gordon is a dentist providing dental procedures such as dental implants and periodontal treatment in Howell, NJ, Eatontown, NJ and New York, NY.
Dr. Marc Gordon is licensed as a Periodontist in the states of New Jersey and New York.