Taking care of our teeth and gums is of vital importance. However, regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are sometimes not enough to maintain good dental health…especially in the instance of gum disease.
A periodontist is a specialty dentist with the expertise to identify, diagnose, and treat gum disease, or periodontal disease. Periodontists have to undergo four years of dental school and another three years in their area of specialization. This allows them to offer advanced dental care for periodontal disease and dental implantation.
What Treatments do Periodontists Offer?
Periodontists are well-versed in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. They offer a variety of treatment procedures, including scaling and root planing(cleaning the infected root surface) and root surface debridement (the removal of damaged tissue).
These specialists can also treat cases of certain severe dental problems using various surgical procedures:
- Gum graft surgery
- Dental crown lengthening
- Pocket reduction
- Plastic surgery
- Laser treatment
- Dental implant placement, maintenance, and repair
What to Expect When You Visit a Periodontist
During your first appointment, the periodontist will review your complete dental and medical histories. Inform the periodontist if you are taking any medications, or have a condition that could affect periodontal care, such as diabetes, pregnancy, or heart disease.
The periodontist will then examine your gums to identify any signs of gum line recession. He’ll also assess your bite and find out if any of your teeth are loose.
Using an instrument known as a probe, the periodontist will measure the depth of your periodontal pockets – the spaces between your teeth and gums. He may also take X-rays to examine the health of your jawbone.
When Should You See a Periodontist?
If you experience any of the following five major signs, don’t hesitate to contact a periodontist:
- A change in your bite – This could be indicated by unusual sensations while talking, chewing, or brushing. Various bite patterns could lead to long-term dental issues if left untreated. Your periodontist can find out the cause for these changes and recommend a suitable treatment.
- Swollen, red, or bleeding gums – If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, don’t hesitate to contact a periodontist. You want to treat any minor problems before they can progress into more serious and costly issues.
- Loose teeth –Loose teeth are an early sign of gum disease or underlying bone damage.
- Receding gums – Do your teeth look longer than they ought to be? You could be suffering from advanced gum recession, which is caused by periodontal disease.
- Discomfort and pain – If you experience discomfort in, around, or below your gums, it might be a sign of an underlying periodontal issue.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, book an appointment as soon as possible with a periodontist for an in-depth exam, to identify the root of the problem. Traditional dentists can handle minor gum issues. However, they’ll refer patients to periodontists in the case of more serious issues.