Periodontics is a dental specialty that includes the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. These dental specialists are called periodontists, and they also are involved with periodontal plastic surgery and placing dental implants.

Periodontal diseases are bacterial infections of the gums, bone and periodontal ligament (fibers that support the teeth and hold them in the jaw). They destroy the gums and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. As a result, teeth may loosen and fall out or need to be removed and replaced with dental bridges or implants.

Periodontal plastic surgery may be required to cover exposed tooth root surfaces, correct gum and jawbone indentations or reshape and repair the gum tissue. Dental implants are placed to provide an artificial tooth root to support dental restorations that will later be created by your dentist or prosthodontist.

Regular professional dental checkups to evaluate the state of your oral health are essential for detecting and managing periodontal disease. Your general dentist usually detects gum disease and treats it in the early stages. While some general dentists have the expertise to treat more advanced forms of periodontal disease, more frequently, gum disease requires specialized treatment.