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Periodontics


Periodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions of the gum tissue. After graduating from dental school, a periodontist spends several years in a residency program, studying the mechanisms of periodontal (gum) inflammation and effective treatments for the condition.

Approximately 20% of periodontists pursue board certification through the American Academy of Periodontics. This requires substantial additional training and many hours of study. Board-certified periodontists must demonstrate clinical and technical proficiency before attaining this status. Dr. Richman attained board certification many years ago.

Bacteria commonly found in the mouth can cause disease and inflammation in the gums. Those diseased gums can then trigger serious problems throughout the rest of the mouth. When left untreated, inflammation that affects the periodontal (gum) tissue can attack other structures in the mouth, such as the teeth and the jawbone.

A general dentist may be able to treat gingivitis, the mildest version of gum disease, but more advanced forms of the disease call for a visit with a periodontist or preferably a board-certified periodontist.

With their extensive training and experience, periodontists can step in to perform surgical and non-surgical procedures to address periodontal (gum) disease. Seeking treatment in a timely fashion may prevent major oral health problems from developing later as a result of your periodontal (gum) disease. This includes the new, innovative approach to the treatment of periodontal (gum) disease through the use of a dental laser.

Periodontists also perform other procedures, including: surgical placement of dental implants; periodontally accelerated orthodontics; diagnosis and treatment of various oral conditions, known as oral medicine; and periodontal (gum) plastic surgery, which is the recontouring and rebuilding of gum tissue to enhance an esthetic smile.
Beyond the benefits to your oral health, periodontal (gum) care can also help improve your systemic well-being. Researchers have identified links between gum disease and numerous other conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Gum disease may also contribute to complications in pregnant women.

Above all, adequate periodontal (gum) care can ensure that your mouth stays healthy and able to perform its essential function of chewing. A periodontist can also help to improve your smile’s appearance.

Signs and symptoms of early to advanced periodontitis


Chronic disease anywhere in the body is insidious, thus advanced symptoms may only appear late after significant damage has occurred.

Warning signs of advanced dental disease include:
•  Redness, tenderness, pain, swollen gums
•  Bleeding while brushing, flossing or biting into an apple
•  Insufficient long-term flossing over a lifetime
•  Receding gums, frequently described ‘getting long in the tooth’
•  Teeth moving or shifting
•  Loose teeth
•  Appliances no longer fit comfortably
•  Previous history of tooth loss including parents
•  History of smoking, diabetes or other metabolic diseases


Periodontitis is chronic and insidious; therefore the earlier comprehensive treatment is initiated usually by a board certified periodontist, the greater the predictability of long-term success. Unless a tooth is very loose, there is a strong possibility that it can be saved with appropriate treatment. Long-term studies on tooth retention validate these concepts.

Did you know that most people over the age of 40 have or have had gum disease, which is a silent tooth killer and doesn’t usually hurt until it’s too late? After the age of 20, your dentist must probe your gums for pockets every year. Be proactive about your gum health and ask your dentist if you have pockets. If you do, you probably have gum disease that has not been controlled. Ask your dentist to refer you to a board-certified periodontist who is skilled in treating patients with advanced dental disease, including periodontal disease.

Gum Disease Treatments


What is Gum Disease?


Certain bacteria thrive in the warm, moist environment of the oral cavity, feeding off of sugars that remain in the mouth after eating. Those bacteria are found in plaque, and they can lead to cavities.
When those plaque and bacteria continue to build up, they can also wreak havoc on your gums, causing inflammation of the tissue.

Gum disease comes in many forms, from the mildest gingivitis to advanced periodontitis, which is much more severe. When periodontal (gum) disease is treated early, it is possible to stop its progression.

Patients who forego treatment are running the risk that the inflammation will not only continue to attack the gums but also affect other structures of the mouth.

The symptoms of gum disease will vary with its severity. Evidence of gingivitis may include red or swollen gums, or you may notice slight bleeding when you brush or floss along the gumline.

Patients with more advanced periodontal (gum) disease may have receding gums or pockets between the gums and the teeth. Their teeth may become looser, and they may have a problem with bad breath caused by the collection of bacteria in the mouth.

A number of different factors may contribute to gum disease. Patients with ineffective brushing and flossing techniques may be more likely to develop periodontal (gum) disease, as they’re unable to clear away all of the bacteria. Genetics may also predispose certain patients to gum disease, and hormonal changes and stress may also be culprits.

Periodontal (gum) disease that has not progressed beyond the point of gingivitis typically can be reversed with a thorough professional cleaning, or prophylaxis. Periodontitis typically warrants more involved treatments.

A periodontist can rely on a variety of interventions to treat gum disease. One commonly used procedure is scaling and root planing, in which the periodontist thoroughly cleans the bacteria from pockets that develop in the gums. More advanced cases may require surgical procedures.

After your initial treatment, your periodontist helps you to develop a plan to reduce your risk of future flare-ups. The periodontist can give you instruction on proper brushing and flossing techniques and advise you on lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation, which will improve your periodontal health.

Advanced Gum Disease Treatment


Advanced gum disease, clinically known as chronic periodontal disease, is often viewed as a silent health condition. Its symptoms may not become easily apparent until there has been significant and irreversible tissue damage.

However, there are clinical diagnostic procedures that make it possible for this disease to be identified and treated more readily. smile.


Recognizing Advanced Gum Disease


As a chronic disease, many of the signs and symptoms of advanced periodontal disease are similar to the signs of infection or inflammation in other parts of the body. This includes:
•  Gums that are red, swollen, painful or tender
•  Bleeding during normal brushing, flossing or chewing
•  Difficulty chewing
•  Receding gums or teeth that appear to be getting longer
•  Teeth that are loose or separating
•  Sores, bumps or blisters in the mouth
•  Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
•  Teeth that don’t seem to fit together
•  A changing or uncomfortable bite
•  Dentures and partials that no longer fit comfortably
•  A history of tooth loss due to gum disease
•  Familial history of tooth loss and/or periodontal disease


Treating Advanced Gum Disease


Advanced gum disease can be treated in a number of ways, according to your physical health and the extent of the disease, including:
•  Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP)
•  Scaling and Root Planing (surgical or non-surgical)
•  Antibiotic Therapy
•  Gum Grafting
•  Crown Lengthening
•  Ridge Augmentation


Your participation and compliance in the dental office and at home will help to ensure that your treatment is truly successful.

If you are affected by one or more of these symptoms, we recommend that you schedule a comprehensive periodontal examination.
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Colin Richman, DMD, Atlanta, GA 30327 + 404-784-7272 + integrateddentalseminars.net + 6/13/2024 + Related Terms: Periodontist Atlanta GA +