Periodontics is a dental specialty that includes the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. These dental specialists are called periodontists, and they also are involved with periodontal plastic surgery and placing dental implants.
Periodontal diseases are bacterial infections of the gums, bone and periodontal ligament (fibers that support the teeth and hold them in the jaw). They destroy the gums and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. As a result, teeth may loosen and fall out or need to be removed and replaced with dental bridges or implants.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The primary cause of periodontal diseases is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless coating that forms on your teeth. If left untreated – generally as a result of poor oral hygiene habits – the bacteria in plaque infect the gums, release toxins that redden and inflame the tissue, and gradually destroy the tissues supporting the teeth and underlying bone. When this happens, the gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets that fill with more plaque and cause additional infection.
Other factors that can affect the health of your gums include:
- Plaque Traps – Decayed teeth, broken or badly fitting partial dentures, crowded/crooked teeth and improperly filled teeth can “trap” plaque buildup, making it difficult to remove by routine oral hygiene methods.
- Negative Behaviors and/or Practices – Your periodontal health can suffer due to poor personal oral hygiene practices, oral piercings, smoking, and drug and/or alcohol abuse. A stressful lifestyle and poor nutritional habits, both of which can diminish your body’s ability to fight infection, also can make you more susceptible to periodontal disease.
- Systemic Factors – People with diseases such as diabetes and leukemia, on certain medications or with systemic conditions such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, malnutrition or immunosuppression, may be especially vulnerable to gum disease due to lower resistance levels.
- Hormonal Factors – Predominantly true for women, hormonal fluctuations during key life stages – puberty, pregnancy and menopause – can trigger tissue changes throughout the body, including the mouth. At such times, a woman’s chances for developing periodontal disease may increase.
- Genetic Influences – Genes and family history can indicate a predisposition for developing periodontal diseases.
- Tobacco Use – Tobacco users show a greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, and more loss of bone and fibers that hold teeth. Chemicals in tobacco (tar and nicotine) diminish the healing process and likelihood of success after periodontal treatment. Smokeless tobacco users also are at higher risk of developing oral cancer.
- Medications – You should inform your dentist of any medicines you are taking, as certain medicines can adversely affect your gums or have contraindications for antibiotics.
Types of Periodontal Diseases
There are many forms of periodontal disease. The most common forms include:
- Gingivitis – Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It results in gums that are red, swollen, and that bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis can usually be reversed with professional treatment and good care at home.
- Aggressive Periodontitis – A form of periodontitis that occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss, bone destruction, and familial aggregation.
- Chronic Periodontitis – This form of periodontal disease results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss, and is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is recognized as the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis and is most prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.
- Periodontitis as a Manifestation of Systemic Diseases – Periodontitis, often with onset at a young age, associated with one of several systemic diseases, such as diabetes.
- Necrotizing Periodontal Diseases – An infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions including, but not limited to, HIV infection, malnutrition, and immunosuppression.
Why would you need to see a Periodontist?
Daily brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to a general dentist for a thorough cleaning and exam are the keys to maintaining good oral health, but it only takes a small amount of overlooked plaque and tartar to lead to gum disease. Patients with severe or complex gum disease will be referred to a periodontist to treat gum disease and prevent it from recurring, although there are also cosmetic reasons to see a periodontist. Periodontal plastic surgery can treat a variety of issues affecting the appearance of your smile, including excess gums, receding gums, and missing teeth.
The field of periodontics involves an array of dental issues and treatment options, but all periodontists share a set of common goals: to restore diseased gum tissue to good health, to improve the appearance and function of your smile, and to help you maintain good oral health so you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible.
If your dentist has referred you to a periodontics specialist or you’re interested in dental cosmetic surgery, our Periodontics are here to help. To schedule a consultation, fill out our contact form or call us at WhatsApp number +90 542 512 51 64.