What is Periodontics?

The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.

Patrick Huston, DDS, MSD (Periodontal Plastic Surgery and Implantology)


Dr. Patrick Huston received his dental degree at the University of the Pacific, School of Dentistry in San Francisco, California. Following seven years of private general dental practice, he went on to get a certificate in advanced periodontics at Loma Linda University, School of Dentistry. As a board certified periodontist, Dr. Huston’s primary expertise is in the field of comprehensive periodontal disease management and complex implant dentistry. He remains on the forefront of his profession by providing training and professional services in conservative laser periodontal care, minimally invasive periodontal plastic surgery, implant surgery using the All-on-4 treatment concept, and complex regenerative and reconstructive therapies with autogenous and biologic materials with BMP. He strives to make periodontal and implant treatments friendly to patients and referrals by communicating and utilizing optimal diagnostics with CBCT scans and digital impression techniques.

Dr. Huston is currently an associate professor in the Department of Advanced Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at Loma Linda University. Dr. Huston is a member of the American Board of Periodontology, American Academy of Periodontics, California Society of Periodontics, International Congress of Oral Implantologists,American Academy of Implant Dentistry, Academy of Osseointegration, and the American and California Dental Associations.