What is Periodontics?

Periodontics is the specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues.

What do periodontists do?

Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, the word periodontal literally means "around the tooth". Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.

Is there a classification system for periodontal disease?

Yes, the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) developed a four tiered classification system. Your periodontist can identify the appropriate treatment plan for your stage of periodontal disease.
  1. Case Type I: Gingivitis - No attachment loss, bleeding may or may not be present, pseudopockets may be present, only the gingival tissues have been affected by the inflammatory process.
  2. Case Type II: Early Periodontitis - Bleeding upon probing may be present in the active phase, pocket depths or attachment loss of 3 to 4 mm, localized areas of recession, possible class I furcation invasion areas
  3. Case Type III: Moderate Periodontitis - Pocket depths or attachment loss of 4 to 6 mm, bleeding upon probing, grade I and/or grade II furcation invasion areas, tooth mobility of class I
  4. Case Type IV: Advanced Periodontitis - Bleeding upon probing, pocket depths or attachment loss over 6 mm, grade II, grade III, mobility of class II or class III
Remember to schedule an appointment with your dentist for an exam to learn more about whether you have periodontal disease and what can be done to reverse the progression.

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Learn more about periodontal disease & periodontists:

Risk factors for periodontal disease
What is a dentist?

Periodontists are also known as periodontal dentist.