Periodontics deal with those pathologies which occur in the periodontium, which includes all tissues which support the tooth and maintain its correct position and health.
Apart from gums, the periodontium includes the alveolar bone, ligaments and root cement, which together contribute to offer the correct support to the tooth.
The main pathology that occurs in this system is periodontitis, which is due to tissue inflammation leading to alveolar bone loss. First periodontitis symptoms are usually bland, but in time gum redness and bleeding occur, accompanied by sensitivity, gum recession and bad breath.
When a fast therapeutic response does not occur, periodontal pockets can form. The gum separates from the tooth creating a space where bacteria can deposit, worsening the problem. The final stage of periodontitis leads to total decay of supporting tissues and, finally, to tooth loss.
Periodontitis can have negative effects on the entire body, influencing cardiovascular diseases and a series of other pathologies. That is why regular appointments at the dentist are important to keep under control its symptoms and to start therapy, but also to monitor and react in time if symptoms should change to the worse.
The first approach to periodontitis is regular tartar removal or intensive scaling which might include the subgingival area as well. Sometimes antibiotics can be used, while during advanced stages of the disease surgery might be necessary.
Periodontitis is very common, though it appears more with the smokers and patients suffering of stress, hormonal changes and certain diseases. Timely diagnosis and targeted therapy might lead to symptoms reversion, or are otherwise key to keep them under control, so regular controls and good dental hygiene are necessary to minimise risk.