Periodontics

The term “periodontics” refers to the dental specialty that pertains to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease that affects the gums and jawbone.  The gum tissues serve to surround and support the teeth and the underlying jawbone anchors teeth firmly in place.  Periodontists have completed several years of extra dental training and are concerned with maintaining the function, health and aesthetics of the jawbone and tissues.

Reasons for periodontal treatment

Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which begins with mild gum inflammation called gingivitis.  It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults living in the developed world, and should be taken very seriously.  Periodontal disease (often called gum disease) may cause red, swollen, or bleeding gums, but in some cases has no noticeable symptoms.

Periodontal disease generally begins when the bacteria living in plaque invade the surrounding tissues of the teeth, causing them to become irritated.  Eventually, this will cause the jawbone to recede and the tooth to become loose.  It is a chronic gradual progression which is often asymptomatic.

There are several reasons why periodontal treatment may be necessary:

  • Moderate/advanced gum disease – This occurs when the gums are bleeding, swollen or red around most teeth and the jawbone has begun to recede 
  • Localized gum recession – Plaque left on the roots of the teeth for a prolonged period may cause the gums to recede from the root surface and leave exposed roots.  The teeth may become sensitive and it may appear the tooth is getting longer.  This can also become an esthetic concern.  Brushing aggressively with a hard bristled toothbrush can promote recession as well.  Other factors that can lead to recession include the patient's bite, grinding pattern, and age as well.
  • Crown lengthening – The periodontist may lengthen the crown of the tooth by removing surrounding soft and hard tissue to provide more tooth exposure for the fabrication of a crown.

In the case of mild/moderate periodontal problems, the focus of the periodontist will be on curing the underlying bacterial infection and then providing advice on the most appropriate home cleaning methods.

Sometimes a deep scaling is needed to remove the bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar) from the teeth and tissues.  Where periodontal disease is advanced and the jawbone has regressed significantly, more intensive cleaning or gum surgery may be recommended and loose teeth that cannot be saved will be removed.

The periodontist is trained in all aspects of dental implant procedures, which can restore functionality to the mouth in areas where teeth have been extracted

Because periodontal disease is progressive, it is essential to remove the bacteria and calculus build up to halt the destruction of the supportive tissues.   Dr. Ko will be happy to advise you on effective cleaning methods and treatment options.


Dr. John H. Ko is proud to bring his patients leading-edge dentistry. Dr. Ko and his entire team are dedicated to providing you with excellent, personalized care and service to make your visits as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Dr. Ko is dedicated to excellence in general, family & cosmetic dentistry, offering quality and gentle dental care in a stress free environment for adults, teens, and children in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Castro Valley and the surrounding Alameda County communities.

Our beautiful office is conveniently located at 5720 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 200, Pleasanton, CA 94588.

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