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4. Periodontic and Endodontic Instruments


a. Periodontics. Periodontics is the specialty of dentistry providing prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and abnormalities involving the tissue structures that surround and support the teeth. These structures are the periodontal ligament, gingiva, cementum, and alveolar bone. The signs and symptoms of periodontal disease are loose teeth, sensitivity to pressure, enlarged gingival tissues, bleeding gingival tissues when using a toothbrush, and halitosis (bad breath). Periodontal disease often begins as gingival inflammation in children and young adults. Without early recognition of the disease and early adequate treatment, the disease process progresses, with little inconvenience or pain to the patient, to an advanced disease status. In the advanced status, the teeth become sore to pressure, are demonstrably loose, and develop painful conditions such as acute periodontitis and periodontal abscess. After the age of 35, periodontal disease is the major cause for the loss of natural teeth. Thus, it is a major dental problem developing from a lack of early recognition and treatment.

b. The dental assistant as an Assistant in Periodontics. General clinical duties apply to the dental assistant assigned to the periodontic service. In addition, depending on the ability of the dental assistant and the techniques and treatment procedures of the dentist, the dental assistant will be used as a special surgical procedure assistant, and oral hygiene technician, and in other activities peculiar to periodontics. The dental assistant will be expected to do scaling, root planing, dental plaque control, occlusal adjustment, and basic examination. The general background, basis for prevention, and treatment in periodontics differ from most other types of dental treatment in that there is less mechanical technique and more emphasis on restoring function and preserving viable tissues that are part of the whole living system of the human body.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015