Periodontal disease or gum disease is a progressive inflammatory disease of the gingiva (gum) and the surrounding tissue (bone) around the teeth. Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss after the age of 30 and it is believed that around 90% of the population above the age of 30 may suffer from this disease, with varying degrees of severity.
It goes undetected because it is usually painless and is mainly caused by inadequate plaque control, although pregnancy, diabetes, epilepsy, and such medications as chemotherapy, medication prescribed for heart problems, birth control pills, and antidepressants can all make you more susceptible to gingivitis which is one of the more common forms and initial indicator of active periodontal disease.
Peridontics is the branch of dentistry devoted to protecting and saving the gingival tissue (gums) and the bone. Most people only see the Periodontist once there has been a severe loss of support for the teeth and need a great deal of recovery.
As the population continues to age and retain many of their permanent teeth, Periodontists are becoming more important. In addition to protecting the tissues, specialists in Periodontics are also performing a great deal of surgery to remove decaying and dying tissue as well as prepare the oral cavity to receive further treatments such as implants, dentures, crowns and even braces.