Periodontics is the area of dentistry which maintains the health of the supporting structures of the teeth. The supporting structures of the teeth are the gums and jaw bone. The following photos are an example of what healthy gums should look like:

  Smile after Periodontics treatment    
  Beautiful Smile   Healthy Gums, they are pink, firm
and nicely shaped

When gum health breaks down gum disease develops around the supporting structures of the teeth. The most common gum diseases are: Gingivitis (gum inflammation) and Periodontitis (gum inflammation plus bone loss).

With gum disease the gums recede, gaps start appearing between the teeth and the teeth start to drift out of place.

  Unhealthy Gums - You can see the gums are
red and soft and are losing shape
  Recession and Gaps  

The most common causes of gum disease are the plaque and calculus deposits that build up on the teeth through lack of proper oral hygiene. They cause inflammation in the tissues that lead to a break down of the gum and bone support around the teeth. Major contributory factors in the progression of gum disease are smoking, grinding, diabetes and genetic factors.

  Smile after Periodontics treatment    
  Plaque and Calculus (‘Tartar’)  

Periodontics aims to treat the main causes of periodontal disease and to reinstate the health of the supporting tissues. There are two main ways to treat the inflammation i.e. the conservative method or the surgical method. Most patients are treated by the conservative method (root planing) and some patients also require the surgical method. Other surgical treatments aim to restore the original fabric of the supporting structures and these include bone grafting and Gum Grafting.