Periodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases, i.e. disease that affects the gum and bone support surrounding teeth.
Periodontal disease or “pyorrhea” is an infectious disease that affects the tissues that support and anchor the teeth, i.e. gums, bone and periodontal ligament. This disease is produced by bacteria in dental plaque and tartar build-up under the gums which starts destroying the bone, although there may also be other factors involved (heredity, smoking, diabetes and other illnesses) in the onset of this disease which affects more than 40% of the adult population.
Periodontal disease generally goes unnoticed as it causes little or no pain until it reaches the advanced stages. There are, however, some signs such as bad breath, bleeding, red or swollen gums, loose teeth or teeth that start to look longer than normal.
If periodontal disease is not treated, it not only results in tooth loss but can also lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and respiratory problems; it can also adversely affect the metabolic control of diabetes and can even cause pregnant women to have low weight or premature babies.
For these reasons, it is vital to have a thorough dental check-up at least once a year.