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Periodontics is the area of dentistry that’s focused on the health of your gums and other structures that support your teeth. In fact, the word itself — periodontics — literally means “around teeth.” Periodontists are skilled in treatments aimed at preventing and treating gum disease in all its stages, as well as procedures for placing state-of-the-art dental implants. As a skilled periodontist, Dr. Michael Rice helps patients maintain their gum health and their overall oral health, combining advanced techniques with years of experience to create one-of-a-kind treatment plans based on each person’s unique, individual needs.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Also called gum disease, periodontal disease develops when harmful bacteria and other pathogens migrate down the tooth surface and into the gums. As these germs multiply, they release toxins that irritate gum tissue, causing it to move away from the tooth surface and recede. In turn, gum recession makes it easier for those “bad” germs to reach lower portions of the teeth. Over time, the germs can migrate all the way to the root area, causing infections that lead to tooth weakening and tooth loss.

Periodontal disease occurs in “stages,” from mild disease to a severe stage called periodontitis. In its very early stages, gum disease cause few or no symptoms, which means you could have gum disease and not realize it until after damage has occurred. Seeing a periodontist for routine gum health checkups is important to make sure gum disease is caught — and treated — as early as possible. If your gums have significantly receded or if they’re naturally thin in some areas of your mouth, Dr. Rice can perform gum graft procedures to supplement the gum tissue in those areas, protecting your teeth from deep decay and infections. Other times, he may need to perform a crown lengthening procedure or a procedure called a gingivectomy to reduce or remove gum tissue, improving the health of an individual tooth while enhancing the way your smile looks.

When to See a Periodontist

Gum disease can occur at any age, but it’s a lot more common as we get older. Adults should have their gums examined regularly during routine checkups. If your gums are tender, red, swollen or bleeding, it could be a sign of early gum disease or an infection of your gums or the structures around your teeth. Likewise, if you’re missing one or more teeth, a periodontist can determine if you’re a good candidate for dental implants, a more comfortable, more natural, more secure alternative to traditional dentures and bridges. Implants also help preserve your jaw bone tissue, preventing bone loss that can weaken other teeth and cause additional tooth loss.

Your teeth depend on the surrounding structures and tissues, both for support and for preventing disease and infection. As a leading dentist in Oakmont, Dr. Rice will make sure you get the care you need to prevent serious oral health issues and maintain your beautiful, healthy smile. If it’s been awhile since your last checkup or if you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease or tooth decay, call Oakmont General & Implant Dentistry at (707) 539-8956 or use our online form and request an office appointment with Dr. Rice today.