Periodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the supporting structures of the teeth. It is chiefly concerned with preventing the progress of gum disease, but can also involve the surgical correction of uneven or receding gums, and the placement of dental implants and their subsequent care.
If gum disease is left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis, a more serious irreversible stage that can only be managed rather than cured, and which affects around 10-15% of the population. It can cause pockets to develop between the root of the tooth and the gum, which may result in tooth loss.
Although not always obvious, symptoms of gum disease can include:
- Bleeding when you brush
- Swollen, red gums
- Bad breath or a metallic taste
- Gum recession
- Sensitive teeth
Regular screening of teeth and gums can ensure any issues are swiftly spotted, helping to slow or halt the disease.
If gum disease has developed beyond the early stages, a thorough clean under the gums, known as root planning, will be required to remove hidden bacterial build up. This involves scaling of the root surface, which can reduce inflammation of the gum tissue. Surgical procedures can also be used to address deep gum pockets.