Periodontics is the area of dentistry that is focused on the health of your gums and the structures that surround your teeth and tooth roots. The primary emphasis of periodontics is the prevention and treatment of gum disease, which can progress very quickly without causing many or even any noticeable symptoms.
Having routine dental cleanings every six months is the best way to treat mild gum disease and prevent infection or tooth weakening. In more moderate cases of periodontal disease, deep-cleaning techniques called root scaling and planing can be used to reach below the gum line to remove bacteria and tartar and to gently smooth roots so bacteria can't attach as easily and to make it easier for your gums to adhere to the roots as the tissue heals. Time-release antibiotics are often used in conjunction with these procedures to kill hard-to-reach bacteria.
In its earliest stages, gum disease often causes no symptoms at all. That's why it's so vitally important to have regular dental checkups to look for signs of gum disease and to remove tartar buildup along the gum line, one of the primary areas where gum disease-causing bacteria hide. As the disease progresses, it can cause symptoms like gum recession (your gums will move backward along the tooth surface, exposing more of your tooth), increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, pain and infection, as well as loose teeth.
Seeing the dentist every six months and practicing good oral health habits including regular brushing and flossing are critical to maintaining healthy gums. You might also consider avoiding sticky foods and sugary snacks, both of which can make it easier for bacteria to grow and multiply along the gum line.