Your gums are the framework for a picture-perfect smile. Periodontics focuses on the health and treatment of gums and bones, working to correct and prevent damage caused by gingivitis, periodontitis or other gum diseases.
Dr. Mark Pakan is a periodontist who has received 3 additional years of extensive training beyond dental school. He specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease as well as the placement of dental implants, and he is also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.
In the first visit, Dr. Pakan examine the gums, checks to see if there is any gum line recession, assesses how the teeth fit together when biting, and checks the teeth to see if any are loose.
The periodontist will also take a small measuring instrument called a probe and place it between the teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets. This helps the periodontist assess the health of the gums. X-rays will also be taken to observe the health of the bone below the gum line.
Untreated gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease, can advance to periodontitis and eventually lead to tooth loss and other health problems.
Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene and is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body, in essence, turns on itself.
The tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected.
As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.