Periodontology or periodontics (from Greek περί peri "around"; and ὀδούς odous "tooth", genitive ὀδόντος odontos) is the specialty of dentistry that studies supporting structures of teeth, as well as diseases and conditions that affect them. The supporting tissues are known as the periodontium, which includes the gingiva (gums), alveolar bone, cementum, and the periodontal ligament. A person who practices this specialty is known as a periodontist.
Periodontal diseases take on many different forms but are usually a result of a coalescence of bacterial plaque biofilm accumulation of the red complex bacteria (e.g., P. gingivalis, T. forsythia, and T. denticola) of the gingiva and teeth, combined with host immuno-inflammatory mechanisms and other risk factors that can lead to destruction of the supporting bone around natural teeth. Untreated, these diseases can lead to alveolar bone loss and tooth loss. As of 2017, these continue to be one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults.[where?] Daily brushing and flossing are a way to help prevent periodontal diseases.
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. They are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, and are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.
Periodontists often treat more problematic periodontal cases, such as those with severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, such as scaling and root planing (in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned) or root surface debridement (in which damaged tissue is removed). They can also treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures. In addition, periodontists are specially trained in the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants.
During the first visit, the periodontist usually reviews the patient’s complete medical and dental histories. It is extremely important for the periodontist to know if any medications are being taken or if the patient is being treated for any condition that can affect periodontal care, such as heart disease, diabetes, or pregnancy.
The periodontist examines the gums, checks to see if there is any gum line recession, assesses how the teeth fit together when biting, and checks the teeth to see if any are loose. The periodontist will also take a small measuring instrument called a probe and place it between the teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets; this helps the periodontist assess the health of the gums. X-rays may also be taken to observe the health of the bone below the gum line.
Some patients’ periodontal needs can be managed by the general dentist. However, as more and more patients are exhibiting signs of periodontal disease, coupled with research that suggests a relationship between periodontal disease and other chronic diseases of aging, periodontal treatment may necessitate a greater understanding and increased level of expertise by a trained specialist. Patients who present with moderate or severe levels of periodontal disease, or patients with more complex cases, will be best managed by a partnership between the dentist and periodontist.
Periodontists offer a broad spectrum of treatments, including scaling and root planing, during which the infected surface of a tooth’s root is cleaned. They also perform root surface debridement, involving the removal of damaged tissue.
Periodontists are typically called upon to treat complicated or advanced cases of gum disease. Their experience and special training enables them to diagnose the underlying causes of the disease and offer the most appropriate treatments and restorative procedures. That said, they typically also work in conjunction with a patient’s general dentist, tailoring a comprehensive plan to resolve a patient’s gum disease and keep it from recurring.
Periodontists must also be skilled at performing oral surgery and are specially trained to place, maintain and repair dental implants.
Periodontist in Athens, GAAnytime is a good time to be seen by a periodontist for evaluation. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of problems that affect the gums and other supporting tissues of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Typically, a periodontist has had two to three years of additional training in diagnosing and treating gum disease and its associated problems. Periodontists are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. Moreover, periodontists can perform cosmetic periodontal procedures to improve your smile. Dentists often refer their patients to a periodontist when their periodontal disease is advanced.
Often, the only way to detect periodontal disease is through a periodontal evaluation. A periodontal evaluation may be especially important if:
You notice any symptoms of periodontal disease.
You are not satisfied with your current tooth replacement option, such as a bridge or dentures, and may be interested in dental implants. You are thinking of becoming pregnant. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby born too early and too small. In addition, about half of women experience "pregnancy gingivitis." However, women who have good oral hygiene and have no gingivitis before pregnancy are very unlikely to experience this condition.
You feel that your teeth are too short or that your smile is too "gummy." Or, if you are missing one or more of your teeth and are interested in a long-lasting replacement option.
You have a family member with periodontal disease. Research suggests that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means the common contact of saliva in families puts children and couples at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member.
You have heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease or osteoporosis. Ongoing research is showing that periodontal disease may be linked to these conditions. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can travel into the blood stream and pose a threat to other parts of the body. Healthy gums may lead to a healthier body.
During a typical visit, a periodontist will review your complete dental and medical histories. He or she will also want to know whether you take certain medication or are being treated for any other health issue, such as diabetes or heart disease, which could impact your periodontal care. It’s also important to inform your periodontist if you are pregnant, since studies suggest that women with periodontal problems could be at a higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight and premature deliveries.
Once the periodontist has reviewed your history, he or she will provide a thorough evaluation of your periodontal issue and then provide recommendations for how to best treat the problem.