Periodontics Specialist

Legacy Dental Care

Cosmetic, Family and General Dentistry located in Woodbridge, VA

Most adults in the United States have some degree of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Although it usually starts out as a mild case of gingivitis, it can quickly progress into advanced gum disease, chronic mouth pain, and tooth loss without treatment. At Legacy Dental Care in Woodbridge, Virginia, periodontics specialist Sowmya Punaji, DDS, offers a complete menu of periodontal services, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management. To learn more, call today.

Periodontics Q & A

What is periodontal dentistry?


Periodontics is the area of dentistry focused on the treatment and management of periodontal disease, an inflammatory condition that destroys gum tissue and other supporting tooth structures.  

Commonly known as gum disease, this common oral health issue generally starts out as gingivitis, or the buildup of bacteria-filled plaque that irritates and inflames the gums along the base of your teeth. Caught early on, gingivitis can usually be reversed with attentive oral hygiene habits and routine preventive care cleanings and exams.

Left untreated, gingivitis can ultimately lead to periodontitis, or advanced gum disease. In this stage, your gums recede away from your teeth and form open pockets that can easily become infected. 

At the same time, the increased bacteria in your mouth and your body’s own immune response begin to break down the soft tissues and bones that keep your teeth in place. In the worst-case form of the disease, tooth loss is common. 

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease? 

Healthy gums are firm, pink (not red), and fit tightly around your teeth. Because early-stage gingivitis isn’t usually obvious and can progress quickly, it’s important to know what the early signs are. You may have gingivitis if your gums: 

  • Appear swollen, puffy, or tender 
  • Look dusky red or dark red 
  • Bleed when you brush your teeth

As it progresses into advanced gum disease, you may begin to experience more severe symptoms, including:

  • Receding, bleeding, or highly sensitive gums
  • Loose teeth or pain when chewing
  • Obvious pockets between your teeth and gums

Gum disease doesn’t always affect your entire mouth, particularly early on. Sometimes it starts in just one area of your mouth or around certain teeth, such as your molars. 

How is periodontal disease treated? 

Effective treatment solutions for periodontal disease include:

Scaling and root planing

Scaling removes plaque from below your gumline, while root planing smooths the tooth root to promote a stronger attachment between your tooth and your gum tissue. 

Root surface debridement

This procedure improves gum tissue health by removing tartar and debris from the root surface of an affected tooth.  

Surgical repair

Flap surgery is done to repair any deep pockets that remain after other interventions; bone and tissue grafts are performed to help regenerate any tissues lost to the disease.   

The best way to prevent periodontal disease or get it under control is by practicing excellent dental hygiene habits, which includes visiting Dr. Punaji for routine cleanings and exams. To schedule your next oral health exam, call Legacy Dental Care today.