When most people think about their oral and dental health, they often think about the aesthetic appearance of their smiles. While the surface of your teeth is crucial for your overall health, what lies below your gums could even be more important. Neglecting to care for your mouth, gums, and teeth could lead to many dental problems, including cavities, gum disease, or tooth loss.

Fortunately, you can avoid these dental and oral health issues by having an excellent care routine and visiting your dentist regularly for examinations and check-ups. However, even diligent people with strict oral care routines can experience dental and oral health issues. If you have a gum disease or periodontitis, your general dentist will likely refer you to a periodontist for specialized services.

Dr Joseph Goodman takes immense pride in his expertise and unwavering commitment to protecting and preserving your periodontal health. Do not hesitate to contact us if you or a loved one needs periodontal treatment in Beverly Hills. We are ready to assist you. Read on for everything you need to know about periodontics.

What Periodontics Entails

Gum disease is a common oral problem that occurs when bacteria infect or attack the periodontal tissues (gums, soft tissues, and bone structures that support teeth), causing inflammation. The plaque buildup on the surface of teeth and below the gumline is the main culprit or cause of gum disease.

Periodontics is a branch or field of dentistry that deals with the gums, soft tissues, and bone structures that support your teeth and dental implants. Although sometimes a general dentist could help you if your gum disease is detected early, in some cases, the services of a periodontist could be necessary to reverse or treat this life-changing oral health problem.

Periodontists are dentists with special training in diagnosing, preventing, and treating gum (periodontal) diseases. A periodontist will also help you manage signs and symptoms of advanced gum disease, like gum inflammation.

To become a qualified and licensed periodontist, a dentist must receive the necessary training in these areas after undertaking a three-year full-time study and extensive research in periodontics. Generally speaking, periodontists play a crucial role in dentistry because they help you stay on top of your dental and oral health.

When left untreated, gum disease could cause severe complications, like tooth loss or bone loss. That is why you should immediately speak with a periodontist once you detect signs of gum disease, like bleeding gums.

How to Know if you are an Excellent Candidate for Periodontal Treatment

Fortunately, gum disease is a treatable condition, especially when detected during its onset. Recognizing initial warning signs of gum disease is crucial in protecting your smile. Below are some of the warning signs or symptoms that can help you recognize that you have gum disease and need immediate treatment before it worsens:

Sensitive Teeth

Feeling discomfort or sensitivity on your teeth when drinking cold, sour, or hot drinks could indicate that your gums have receded, exposing the sensitive part of your teeth. You are more likely to experience tooth sensitivity and gum recession if you have periodontitis (advanced gum disease).

Swollen, Red, or Tender Gums

There is a high chance that you have gum disease (gingivitis) if you have swollen, red, or tender gums. The gums that cause gingivitis could also cause gum inflammation. When left unchecked, the inflamed gums could create deep periodontal pockets around the affected tooth, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.

A deep periodontal pocket indicates that you are at risk of losing the affected tooth, meaning swollen, red, or tender gums are an abnormality you should worry about. If your gums are swollen or reddish, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Chronic Bad Breath

While eating smelly and spicy foods like garlic, onions, and ginger could cause bad breath, brushing your teeth could help solve this issue. However, if you have chronic bad breath (halitosis) that does not disappear even with regular teeth brushing and flossing, there is a high chance that you have periodontal disease.

Bleeding Gums When Flossing or Brushing Your Teeth

Another common indicator of gum disease is bleeding gums. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth after meals, you should consult your dentist or periodontist for a check-up.

Bleeding when brushing or flossing teeth is an early sign of gum disease (gingivitis). However, when your gums continue to bleed after brushing your teeth, chances are you have advanced gum disease (periodontitis), and you should consult with a periodontist as soon as possible.

Gum Recession

Another visible sign of gum disease is gum recession. As the name suggests, gum recession occurs when your gums pull away from the surface of your tooth, exposing your roots. When you notice that some of your teeth appear longer than others, it could be due to gum recession caused by periodontitis.

When left untreated, receding gums can create a periodontal pocket (hollow space between your teeth and gums) that traps food debris and bacteria, eventually leading to tooth loss.

Loose Teeth

Once you lose your baby teeth, the remaining teeth should last you a lifetime. Unfortunately, sometimes, you could lose your permanent teeth due to an injury or periodontitis. When gum disease is left untreated, the bacteria that led to the infection can spread to the roots of the affected tooth, making it loosen or shift out of alignment.

When you notice a change in the way your teeth fit together when your mouth is at rest, or you experience trouble chewing your food, there is a high chance that you have periodontitis. The sooner you seek the services of a periodontist, the higher the chances of saving the loose tooth.

If you detect any of these symptoms of gum disease, you should seek the services of a periodontist immediately. Early detection and treatment of gum disease can help reverse the problem and preserve oral and dental health.

What to Expect During Your Initial Appointment with a Periodontist

Once you visit your dentist or periodontist after experiencing any of the above symptoms of gum disease, you should expect a comprehensive examination and assessment of your dental and gum health. In a nutshell, here is what you should expect during your initial appointment with a periodontist:

Evaluation of Your Medical History

The periodontist will review your dental and medical history to avoid unnecessary complications during treatment and determine the root cause of your gum disease. Your periodontist could inquire about your health conditions, the medication you are on, and your family's history of gum disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

After a keen evaluation of your medical history, the periodontist will conduct a diagnosis to determine whether gum disease is the cause of the symptoms you are experiencing. Using a periodontal probe, the periodontist will also measure your periodontal pocket depth to determine the severity of the gum disease and the appropriate treatment plan.

If you have periodontitis, your periodontist could require X-ray tests to check whether the disease has led to bone loss. After a thorough diagnosis, the periodontist will recommend a treatment plan to help reverse and fix your oral and dental health problems.

Questions and Answers

After diagnosis, the periodontist will spend time with you discussing his/her findings and treatment options that could help protect and preserve your oral health. Your periodontist will answer all your concerns and explain all the details of the suitable treatment procedure for your unique condition.

Treatment Options

If treatment is necessary, your periodontist will schedule an appointment to allow him/her to execute the required treatment to preserve your dental and oral health. Before leaving the periodontist's clinic, he/she will inform you what to expect before, during, and after the recommended treatment.

Treatment Services a Periodontist Can Offer

A periodontist can offer you a wide range of services to help preserve and boost your dental and oral health. Below are some of the treatment options a periodontist can offer:

Scaling and Root Planning

Scaling and root planing are common and most preferred non-surgical treatment procedures for reversing the early stages of gum disease (gingivitis). These minor procedures involve removing plaque buildup on the surface of teeth and below the gumline.

Treating the affected tooth root (root planing) could also be necessary to remove any plaque buildup on its surface. Sometimes, these two non-surgical procedures could be all you need to reverse gum disease, meaning no further treatment will be necessary. However, remember to schedule regular appointments with your periodontist to monitor your healing process.

Dental Implant Surgery

If you have a missing tooth caused by severe gum disease or periodontitis, your dentist could recommend a dental implant placement surgery. A dental implant is a titanium-made rod that your periodontist will surgically place on your jawbone to replace missing tooth roots and create anchorage for artificial teeth.

Since the dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the skin around the affected tooth, you will not experience discomfort during dental implant surgery.

Bone Grafting

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, severe gum disease can lead to erosion of the bone structure that supports your teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. In this situation, bone grafting will be necessary before the surgical placement of a dental implant on your jawbone to support an artificial tooth.

During bone grafting, your periodontist will remove compatible bone from other parts of your mouth or donor and fix it on the affected jawbone to help it regenerate.

Gingival Flap Surgery

Also sometimes known as pocket reduction surgery, gingival flap surgery is a procedure that can assist in treating mild to severe gum disease. During this surgical procedure, your periodontist will precisely cut or incise the affected gums away from your teeth to allow him/her to assess the extent of the infection beneath your gum line.

After thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting your tooth roots with antibiotics, the periodontist repositions your gums and stitches them into their ideal place in the mouth.

Gum Grafting

If you have gum recession caused by gum disease, your periodontist will likely recommend gum grafting to fix the problem. Gum grafting, like bone grafting, replaces lost gum tissue due to gum disease by removing compatible gum tissue from other areas of your mouth. The graft your dentist will use during this procedure could come from a donor or the roof of your mouth.

Dental Crown Lengthening

Some people have more gums than others. This issue is detectable by what periodontists call a "gummy smile," where excess gums in your mouth make your teeth look shorter. In most cases, your periodontist will recommend this procedure before the placement of dental prostheses like veneers or bridges.

Aside from reversing gum disease, dental crown lengthening is a cosmetic procedure that can help improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile.


LANAP is another treatment option and cutting-edge technology that can help treat and reverse gum disease. LANAP can help regenerate tissues lost due to periodontal disease by utilizing minimally invasive lasers and high technology.

Since no incisions or stitches are necessary to perform this procedure, you will not experience discomfort during the treatment. That also means you can resume your usual daily activities after the treatment.

Tooth Extraction

If the cause of your gum disease stems from an infected tooth, sometimes tooth extraction could be necessary to eliminate the problem. That is particularly true if the inner part of the tooth (pulp chamber) is infected and other treatment options like root canal therapy cannot fix the problem.

When a tooth breaks off at the gumline, a periodontist could also recommend its removal, even if it has no infection, to prevent further oral health issues.

Early intervention is critical for optimal results if you have gum disease. As you can see above, periodontists can perform a wide range of treatments if you have gum disease or periodontal concerns. The specific treatment option your periodontist will use to treat your infected gums will depend on the severity and level of the disease.

Aside from reversing gum disease, some of these treatment procedures can also help improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile.

Crucial Facts You Should Know About Periodontics and Gum Disease

Below are three crucial facts you ought to know about gum disease and how it could adversely affect your overall dental and oral health:

It Could be Fatal

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, gum disease occurs when tissues and bones that support your teeth become infected by bacteria. Since this bacterial attack compromises your immune system, your body has to send antibodies to eliminate and kill the infection, leading to inflammation and tenderness of your gums.

When left untreated, the bacteria that causes periodontitis can enter the bloodstream, causing other fatal health problems like heart attacks, high blood pressure, respiratory problems, strokes, and certain types of cancer.

It Could Affect Anyone, Regardless of Age and Gender

Even if you have an excellent oral care routine, you could be at risk of gum disease due to other factors, like genetics. However, you are more susceptible or prone to gum disease if any of the following is true:

  • You smoke or use tobacco products
  • Your family has a history of gum disease
  • You have a compromised immune system
  • You have hormonal imbalance caused by menopause, puberty, pregnancy or menstruation

It is Preventable

Gum disease is not an overnight oral health issue, meaning it develops over time mostly due to poor oral health habits, like failing to brush your teeth regularly. You can prevent and reverse gum disease when you detect its early symptoms and take appropriate measures to reverse the progression of the disease.

When you fail to receive early treatment, the periodontal pockets formed by the disease will continue to deepen, causing bone loss or tooth loss. Thankfully, it is a disease you can prevent through regular dental visits and proper oral care routines. After all, prevention is better than cure, especially in dental and oral health matters that worsen over time, like gum disease.

During routine dental check-ups, your dentist can remove persistent plaque you cannot remove at home by brushing your teeth daily, keeping gum disease and other oral health issues at bay.

Aftercare Tips Your Dentist Could Recommend After Periodontal Treatment

Generally speaking, after a gum disease treatment, recovery will depend on your general health, the severity of the disease, and the treatment your periodontist will recommend. After a successful gum treatment, a reliable dentist will recommend tips to help you stay on top of your oral health and accelerate your healing process, such as:

  • Avoid smoking or using tobacco-related products
  • Use ice cubes wrapped in a cloth to alleviate pain on the surgical site
  • Avoid extremely cold or hot foods and beverages the first few weeks after gum treatment
  • Rinse your mouth with salty water several times daily after the first twenty-four (24) hours
  • Maintain healthy flossing and brushing habits
  • Use over-the-counter painkillers to help alleviate any bothersome pain after the treatment
  • Maintain a soft diet like mashed potatoes, pasta, and eggs for at least one (1) week after the treatment
  • Rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash to help kill harmful bacteria in your mouth
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth to avoid injuring the incision site
  • Stay vigilant around children and pets to avoid unnecessary injuries on the incision site
  • Rest adequately

Periodontal treatments are exceptionally effective if you follow the instructions your periodontist will give you. On top of these home-based aftercare tips following gum disease treatment, your dentist could require you to schedule follow-up appointments to monitor the healing progress.

That means you do not have to wait six months to see your dentist for routine dental exams and check-ups if your gum disease requires attention.

Frequently Asked Questions About Periodontics

Here are some common questions that most people ask about periodontics to help them make informed decisions about their dental and oral health:

  1. What is the Cause of Periodontitis?

Although poor oral healthcare habits are the primary cause of periodontitis, it could also be due to other factors like:

  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Nutrition, particularly low vitamin C level
  • Hormonal changes during menopause
  • Chewing or smoking tobacco

When determining the appropriate treatment for your gum disease issue, the dentist or periodontist will first determine the root cause of the problem.

  1. Is Gum Disease Dangerous to a Pregnant Mother?

Yes. For expectant mothers, general body health and periodontal health becomes crucial. According to research, pregnant mothers with untreated gum disease are likely to experience adverse pregnancy outcomes like low birth weight or preterm delivery.

  1. How Much Will it Cost to Treat a Periodontal Disease?

How much you will spend to treat your gum disease will depend on several factors, such as:

  • The severity of the disease
  • The location of the disease in your mouth
  • The type of periodontal treatment your periodontist will recommend
  • Whether or not you have insurance coverage

Fortunately, nowadays, most dentists offer flexible payment plans and financial options to make it easy for their clients to settle their treatment bills. For instance, your dentist could allow you to settle his/her services via banker's cheque, cash, or PayPal.

Instead of postponing a gum disease treatment because of costs, you should speak with your dentist or periodontist to learn about the available financing options and payment plans he/she offers.

Find a Beverly Hills Periodontist Near Me

Aside from affecting the beauty of your smile, gum disease could affect your entire body's health when left untreated or unchecked. If you have a gum disease or have questions about this fatal condition, Dr Joseph Goodman can help.

We invite you to call us at 310-860-9311 to discuss your gum health or periodontal concerns with our understanding and credible periodontist, wherever you are in Beverly Hills. Once you contact us, we will carefully examine your gum health and recommend an appropriate treatment plan if you have gum disease or are at risk of developing the disease.