Periodontics is the dental specialty focused on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease and other conditions that affect the gums, soft tissues of the mouth, and jawbone. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection caused by bacteria in plaque. Plaque and tarter build up around the teeth causes inflammation of the gum tissues. If this condition is not treated in its early stages, it develops into periodontitis, which causes damage to the supporting jawbone.

Gingivitis/periodontitis is characterized by red, tender, bleeding, and swollen gums and can eventually lead to recession, bone loss and tooth loss. Gingivitis can usually be controlled and even reversed with additional professional cleanings and improved at-home oral care if the condition is diagnosed and treated early.

Periodontitis generally requires more involved, frequent treatment.