You may ask, what is periodontics? It relates to that part of dental practice that looks at the supporting structures of the teeth, i.e. the bone and gums. In many respects this is the foundation for all that comes before it. Without sound supporting structures the best teeth in the world do you no good.
We have two experts in our office providing for your periodontal needs. They are your hygienists. They have been specifically trained to look for signs and symptoms of periodontal breakdown and can treat and teach methods that will ensure that you keep your teeth for a lifetime. When I perform your new patient exam I look for specific things that I then relay to the hygienists. Armed with that knowledge they can then suggest a mode of treatment that suits your needs.
There are two primary disease states in periodontics. They are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis refers to a mild to moderate inflammation of the gum tissues that have not affected the underlying bone. Periodontitis relates to a moderate to severe destruction of your supporting structures, the gum and bone.
More commonly most people do have some form of gingivitis that ranges from mild to moderate. It is signified by red and/or bleeding gums. This state of periodontal disease is easily reversed to normal health through regular brushing and flossing and visits to your dentist/hygienist.
The more severe form of gum disease is periodontal disease which is manifested by red and bleeding gums, but also by looseness and drifting of teeth as well as demonstrable bone loss and tissue recession. In some cases we enlist the help of a specialist, a periodontist, that can treat advanced forms of the disease.
Our hygienists will perform a thorough evaluation of your periodontal health every time you sit in their chairs. It is their intent to enable you to keep your teeth for life.
In some cases if you have not had your teeth cleaned in some time you may be advised that you need two initial cleanings; a gross debridement to remove large pieces of calculus (tartar). This is followed by a fine scaling that removes any calculus below the gum. In some instances a deep cleaning is also required which may prevent you having to see a periodontist. A deep cleaning consists of getting you numb and cleaning any deep gum pockets very thoroughly. This enables the tissues to heal in a healthy environment and in some instances reduce pocket depths remarkably.
Most importantly look at your hygienists as teachers that will show you how to keep your teeth and gums in the best condition possible. They are there to help with any questions you may have about gum care.