The periodontist is the oral “foundation” specialist who diagnoses and treats the surrounding support structures of the tooth, including the gingiva (gum tissue), the periodontal ligament (connection between the tooth root and bone) and alveolar bone (jaw bone), in Rocklin, California. In the presence of inflammation, these support structures become inflamed and or diseased and may lead to reversible changes (i.e. gingivitis) or irreversible changes (i.e., periodontitis). The periodontist is also a dental “plastic surgeon” with expertise in gum (soft tissue) and bone (hard tissue) removal, regeneration, shaping and recontouring. Implant rehabilitation is another responsibility of the periodontist. When a patient’s natural tooth is lost due to disease, decay or trauma, the periodontist surgically implants a replacement tooth root form (implant) which provides the anchorage for a crown restoration fabricated by the patient’s restorative dentist (either general dentist or prosthodontist) depending on the complexity of the treatment. Gingivitis simply refers to inflammation in the gingival (gum) tissues surrounding the teeth. Typically, the appearance of gingivitis is characterized by red, puffy gum tissue that may bleed in response to brushing, flossing or professional cleanings. With treatment, gingivitis is a reversible condition that does not affect the supporting bone or soft tissue attachment.

Periodontitis is differentiated from gingivitis by its effect on bone and soft tissue attachment. Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis is irreversible and causes permanent changes in the soft tissue and bone. Bone loss is the major consequence of periodontitis. Advanced stages of periodontitis are characterized by deep gingival pockets, extreme bone loss and associated tooth mobility.

The first step in periodontal therapy begins with an examination and baseline probing measurements of the gingival attachment around the teeth. Actual treatment begins with a thorough cleaning usually involving scaling and root planning and can be performed at Placer Prosthodontics Inc.. Oral hygiene instruction is a critical part of this process where the patient is shown proper brushing and flossing techniques. Initial treatment is basically aimed at removal of plaque and calculus from the teeth and can be performed using either hand instruments and/or ultrasonic scalers. Approximately one month following the cleaning, the patient is seen for a response diagnosis. At that time, new probing measurements are made and compared to the original baseline probing measurements. Areas resistant to the initial deep cleaning (identified by continued deep pocketing) are usually treated with more invasive treatment methods (i.e., surgery). The goal of periodontal therapy is to treat disease (eliminate inflammation and infection) and create a tooth/gum interface that is predictably maintainable by the patient. A stable foundation is defined as disease-free supporting structures which are maintainable by regular brushing and flossing. In addition to performing the basic periodontal therapies, periodontists are also experts in placing dental implants. Their knowledge and training in meticulous management of both the gingival soft tissues and jaw bone make them the perfect choice for surgical placement of implants.

Please contact the dentist, Dr. Craig Wada, at (916) 630-9048 for more information on how to help you with your dental health needs.