What does the field of periodontics deal with?
Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the care of all structures surrounding and supporting the teeth. Patients generally only pay attention to cleaning teeth, neglecting the gums and surrounding soft tissues in the process. These structures hold immense importance as they support the teeth in their sockets. Infections affecting these tissues can lead to mobility and premature loss of teeth.
What are gingival infections?
Two of the most common infections of the gingiva prevalent globally are Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Gingivitis results from lack of proper oral hygiene and is characterized by swelling of the gums, bleeding on brushing, redness, pain and sensitivity. This infection can be reserved with the help of professional scaling and maintenance of a proper at-home oral hygiene regimen. If left untreated, the condition progresses into a more aggressive infection called Periodontitis which is characterized by frequent bleeding, pain, formation of gingival pockets, halitosis (foul breath), gingival recession, root exposure, mobility, and eventually, loss of teeth. Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis requires a more aggressive combination therapy to combat the infection and restore gingival health. This may include surgery, deep curettage, antibiotics and even splinting if required.
How can one maintain periodontal health?
It is important to always clean and care for the soft tissues surrounding the teeth. Flossing should be done daily to remove any accumulated food debris or bacterial build-ups from between the teeth. Mouthwashes containing Chlorhexidine can also be used to keep harmful infections at bay. It is also critical to visit the dentist for routine checkups and professional evaluation of oral health.