The field of periodontics is concerned by infections and other dysfunctions of the periodontium, which is comprised of the gum, alveolar bone, ligament and cementum. Together, these structures keep teeth in place. Periodontal disease occurs when these tissues become infected by bacteria. These types of infection need to be treated rapidly to avoid further complications and more complex treatments.
What is periodontal disease?
Because it involves swelling of the gums, this type of infection is also known as gum disease. When plaque and tartar build up, the bone eventually becomes affected as well.
Gum disease progresses slowly, is generally painless and almost asymptomatic. The most common forms of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Various factors contribute to periodontal disease:
- Poor oral health
- Pregnancy or illness (diabetes, leukemia)
- Some medication
Can gum disease be treated?
First and foremost, periodontics focuses on prevention. During your regular check-up, the dentist will assess if you’re at risk of developing gum disease. If this is the case, a periodontal exam will be recommended.
If you do have gum disease and it’s detected early on, it can be treated. In more serious cases, periodontics can stop the disease from progressing and re-establish your oral health.
A rigorous approach to dental hygiene, healthy eating habits and regular dental check-ups are the best ways to prevent gum disease.