Dentistry 101: What is Periodontics?

February 18, 2021

From the Greek words “peri,” meaning “around,” and “odons,” meaning teeth, periodontics is the medical field that deals with the structures that support your teeth. These include the gums, jawbone, periodontal ligaments, and the cementum that anchors the teeth to them. There are a number of conditions that can affect these structures, and periodontists receive years of specialized training to treat them. At American Dental, we are proud to employ some of the best periodontists in the Chicago area; here’s more about what they do and how they can help you:

What Does a Periodontist Do?

The last time you were at the dentist, did your hygienist check the spaces between your gums and teeth? They were checking for periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease. This is one of the main oral health issues that periodontists deal with, although they may also be involved in restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures. Without periodontic treatment, a person with gum disease can experience intense pain in the gums, persistent bad breath, or they can even end up losing their teeth due to advanced periodontitis.

What is Periodontitis?

Your mouth is home to a variety of bacteria and other microorganisms, and as they go about their life cycles, they form a film on your teeth known as plaque. If this plaque is not removed daily, it can harden and become tartar that is much more difficult to remove. Because the periodontal spaces are more difficult to clean than other tooth surfaces, tartar often forms along the gum line, especially in people with poor oral hygiene. Unchecked tartar buildup irritates the gums, and over time, can lead to bleeding, pain, swelling, and receding gums. This is known as gingivitis, and if you don’t see a periodontist to treat it, it can become a full-blown gum disease that puts you at risk of tooth loss and other serious medical issues.

Treating Periodontitis

Depending on the severity of your condition, a periodontist may employ various methods to treat you. For minor cases, non-surgical methods like scaling and root planing can be used to remove tartar buildup from around the teeth, giving the gums an opportunity to heal. For more advanced cases, surgical techniques like gum grafting, bone grafting, and pocket reduction procedures may be used. Generally speaking, periodontitis is treated by removing harmful bacteria, plaque, tartar buildup, and damaged tissue, then allowing your natural bone and gum tissue to heal on its own.

Preventing Periodontitis

If you want to prevent gum disease and related conditions, the best thing to do is maintain a proper oral health routine. Brush twice daily, floss once daily, use mouthwash and visit your dentist every 6 months for a checkup. If you catch periodontitis symptoms early, the condition is much easier to treat, and regular cleanings will remove the tartar buildup that causes it. If you’re looking for an affordable dentist in Chicago, American Dental is here to answer any questions you may have. Visit our appointment page to find the location closest to you and call to schedule or book online in just minutes! Our team can help you fight periodontitis, so don’t wait; schedule an appointment today.

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