Periodontics is a dental specialty that provides care for gums and the bone that surrounds teeth. Periodontists treat gum disease, place dental implants, and treat wounds or inflammation inside the mouth.
The most common condition managed by periodontists is gum disease. Gum disease happens when plaque and bacteria build up on teeth and reach below the gumline, causing inflammation and damaging gum tissue. The body’s own immune response to gum infection may also grow severe enough to damage gums and teeth. Mild gum disease (or gingivitis) may not have any symptoms. However, if the infection is allowed to build, symptoms such as pain, bleeding, bad breath, and tooth loss may occur. Dentists can usually diagnose and treat mild gum disease. In severe cases or those with medical complications, a periodontist is more appropriate for managing the infection.
A partial list of the treatments and procedures that a periodontist may perform includes:
- Root scaling and planing, or cleaning the lower surface of the tooth
- Debridement, or removal of diseased gum tissue
- Laser treatments to remove plaque and gum tissue
- Surgery, including gum grafting or bone grafting
- Placement of dental implants, including single teeth, crowns, and bridges
- Maintenance and removal of dental implants
When gum infection threatens your oral health, a periodontist works to heal your gums and save your teeth.