Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.
A periodontist is a dentist who has undergone specialized training in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of periodontal (gum) diseases. They are also the dental surgeons who place and maintain dental implants. Periodontists in many instances actually save teeth from extractions, as they are specialized in the treatment of the gums and the jaw bone around the teeth. Their expertise lies in treating inflammation of soft tissue, gums, and oral pathology. Many of them have received extensive training in these areas. They often study three (3) extra years after dental school. Periodontists perform a number of procedures but their main focus is on the following:
Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection and inflammation of gums (gingiva). The accumulation of plaque (bacterial colony) and calculus (tartar) around the teeth causes inflammation of gum tissues in those areas. Continued inflammation and infection of gum tissue (gingival) causes a gradual damage to the supporting jaw bone of your natural teeth. Lesions that are caused by inflammations due to improper oral hygiene and lack of professional dental cleaning are the cause of a majority of periodontal issues. As periodontal disease advances, the bone, ligament, and gingiva (gum tissue) will be damaged.
There are many diseases that affect and damage the tooth supporting structures. Plaque induced inflammatory lesions causes the majority of periodontal issues. These can be divided into two categories; gingivitis and periodontitis. Dental plaque is the main cause of gingivitis and often patients are pre-genetically exposed to this. Plaque forms on and around the teeth after eating and even after cleaning, by forming a thin layer of plaque (bacterial colony). These bacteria, which contain the toxins or poisons, will irritate the gums. This can lead to gums that are inflamed; red, swollen, and they may bleed. At this stage the disease is called gingivitis, since it only involves the inflammation and infection of gum tissue (gingiva). As this state of inflammation, it becomes prolonged and progressed, the gums separate from the teeth causing pocket formation and damage of the bone around the teeth. When the disease involves the supporting bone structure around the teeth, it is called periodontitis. If a patient does not brush and floss daily, this plaque can harden into a rough porous substance known as calculus, which will form above and below the gum line. When gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, the gum tissue and bone structure that supports the teeth can deteriorate.