Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of gums, ligaments, bone, and other tissues surrounding the teeth. Scientific investigations indicate the periodontal diseases are responsible for more teeth loss in the United States than any other oral disease, including dental caries. This is particularly worrisome since, in their early stages, periodontal diseases progress without much in the way of warning signs for patients. In addition to possible tooth loss, new studies show that periodontal diseases can also impact a patient’s general health and wellbeing.
With periodontal disease on the rise, it is crucial the graduates of the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry are provided with the information and skills necessary for diagnosing and treating this disease. Presently, the Periodontics' Predoctoral Division offers a comprehensive series of required courses designed to meet that need for all dental students working on the Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree. Elective courses in more advanced techniques are also available to students as they progress through the dental program.
With many innovative and exciting treatment options for periodontal diseases underway, graduating dentists must be prepared to evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments as they manifest and apply them to meet the specific needs of each patient that walks into their office. Thorough knowledge of the nature of periodontal diseases and how the human body attempts to control these diseases is essential to providing excellent care.
As students graduate from the dental program here at UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry, it is the mission of the Predoctoral Division in the Department of Periodontics to have provided the following fundamental educational goals described briefly in the statements below:
- Perform a comprehensive periodontal examination
- Assess patients’ risk for developing periodontal diseases
- Plan and perform all types of nonsurgical periodontal therapy
- Manage communications with patients and other health care providers
- Monitor the results of nonsurgical periodontal therapy
- Perform periodontal therapy for patients previously treated for periodontal diseases
- Manage patients with acute periodontal conditions such as periodontal abscess
- Manage the referral of patients with advanced periodontal needs