The Purpose of Periodontics

The Purpose of Periodontics

Oct 01, 2019

The tooth is composed of several different parts such as the crown, roots, enamel, and soft pulp. The crown is the larger portion visible above the gums, while the roots sink down through the gums and into the jawbone. The enamel is the hard exterior of the tooth that protects the interior soft pulp from damage and decay. Each part of the tooth is essential, but of equal importance are the structures individuals often don’t think about.

Holding the teeth in place are the gums and similar support structures. Without them, the teeth would be unable to remain in the jawbone and would fall out. Unfortunately, gum disease affects over 50% of the population, meaning people need extra assistance when it comes to caring for these structures. This is where the periodontist is beneficial.

What Is a Periodontist?

Periodontology is a field or specialization of dentistry that focuses on the repair, maintenance, and treatment of the structures that hold the teeth in place. In particular, the periodontist focuses on something called the periodontium, which is composed of the gums, alveolar bone, cementum, and periodontal ligament. Most people might not realize what these components are, but they are the gums, soft tissues, and the alveolar bone, which is a small bone that holds the teeth in their sockets. Losing pieces of these structures pose serious problems for an individual’s health and wellness, so visits to a specialist are often necessary.

What Are the Periodontal Services?

The most common periodontal service is the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, also called gum disease. Periodontal gum disease occurs when the mouth is not being maintained properly, especially when individuals fail to brush and floss their teeth on a regular basis. Perhaps one of the greatest causes of gum disease is the failure to floss, as most people avoid doing so. However, it can also be caused by illness, hormonal changes, and bad habits like smoking.

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar in and around the gums. This plaque eventually infects the gums, causing a variety of symptoms that people can typically identify:

  • Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
  • Gums that are purple, scarlet, or white
  • Swelling and puffiness
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Deep pockets appearing between the teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)


A periodontist will treat periodontal gum disease through a variety of treatments depending on how far periodontal disease has progressed. In the early and mid-stages, the dentist will often use scraping and planing.

In scraping and planing, the dentist numbs the mouth and uses specialized tools to identify pockets of bacteria, scrape the buildup out, and then sanitize the gums. To repair the gums, another tool is used to flatten them out so they fit in their regular spaces.

In later stages, more serious treatments are required. Patients might need soft tissue or bone grafts, or even full tooth replacement through dental implants. Sometimes flap surgery, or works performed on the gum tissue, is necessary to remove tissues blocking pockets of infected material.

Alongside the physical treatments, a periodontist will educate patients about better oral hygiene habits and will also often prescribe antibiotics or medicated mouthwashes and toothpaste to treat concerns.

Other Services

Besides the treatment of periodontal disease, a periodontist can also be called to perform root surface debridement. During this service, the mouth is numbed and the dentist uses tools to remove damaged tissue around the roots. The debridement is typically needed when decay or infection has built up between the teeth and gums, resulting in soft tissue deterioration. This service is also often performed alongside regular treatment for periodontal disease, but it will vary based on a patient’s current oral health and wellness.

Finding a Periodontist Near You

Receiving periodontal treatment requires locating a gum specialist near you. When searching for a qualified dental office with periodontics in San Diego, one option is Scripps Poway Dental Care. Scripps Poway Dental Care keeps a periodontist on staff who is available for the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of potential periodontal issues for patients of all ages.

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