Periodontics refers to the care and treatment of the gums and supporting structures. “Periodontal” literally means “around the teeth”, which includes the bone that supports your teeth, as well as the soft tissue that seals the teeth and lines the entire mouth. Periodontists treat gum diseases and repair soft tissue defects. They surgically place dental implants into the jawbone and can extract teeth as well. Periodontists correct receding gums or remove excessive tissue involved in gum pockets that would otherwise lead to destruction of jawbone by oral bacteria. Your dentist will refer you to a periodontist if there is evidence of gum disease or bone loss, or if you have decided to have a dental implant placed.