Periodontics is a specialized area of dentistry that focuses on the health of the tissues supporting and surrounding the teeth. A dentist or periodontist works with patients on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the gums, bone, and ligaments in the jaw.
Periodontal disease is mainly caused by plaque, the sticky bacteria that form on the teeth. Without proper oral hygiene, this plaque can cause infection in the gums, bones, and tissues. In addition to poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease may be caused by diseases that suppress the immune system, genetic predisposition, tobacco use, and certain medications. Left untreated, periodontitis can cause tooth loss.
Regular twice yearly visits to your dentist will aid in the early detection and treatment of periodontal disease.
Gum disease that is so severe that it cannot be cured with antibiotics may require surgery. A gingivectomy is a surgery that reshapes the gums and removes infected gum tissue that has formed pockets between the gum and the tooth. Untreated, the infection could damage the bone around the root of the tooth.
A local anesthetic is used prior to the procedure to ensure the patient’s comfort. The dentist will then remove the tissue, likely with a laser. If the dentist uses a laser, the patient will not require stitches post operatively. A temporary covering may be placed over the area to promote healing. It may take up to two weeks for the gums to completely heal. The patient must practice good oral hygiene habits to prevent a reappearance of severe gingivitis.