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What Is A Periodontist, And When Do You Need To See One?

Gum bleeding

It’s easy to overlook the importance of gum health in our daily oral care routine. Many individuals are unaware of the significance of regular visits to a periodontist until they encounter severe gum disease, tooth loss, or even systemic diseases linked to oral inflammation. This unawareness, largely due to a lack of understanding of what periodontics entails and when to seek a periodontist’s intervention, can lead to serious oral and overall health complications.

This article provides information on periodontics, highlighting its significance and offering guidance on when to seek consultation with a periodontist.

What Is A Periodontist?

A periodontist is a dentist with specialized training in the field of periodontics, an area of dentistry that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal diseases. This involves diseases and conditions that affect the gums and other structures supporting the teeth. Periodontists go through a postgraduate training program after successful completion of dental school to acquire additional training in treating complex periodontal cases.

What Periodontists Do

1. Examine Oral Health

A Periodontist, essentially a gum dentist specialist, is responsible for thoroughly evaluating a patient’s oral health. This involves using a dental probe to measure the depth of periodontal pockets around teeth and checking for signs of gum recession or other gum diseases.

2. Diagnose Gum Diseases

After the oral examination, periodontists diagnose the patient’s gum health status. They can identify various stages of gum diseases, from gingivitis to aggressive periodontitis, and determine the degree of progression.

3. Plan and Execute of Treatments

Upon diagnosing gum diseases, the periodontist plans treatments suitable for the condition. The periodontal treatment can include non-surgical procedures like scaling and root planing or surgical procedures for advanced cases. The aim is to restore healthy gum tissues and prevent further complications.

4. Perform Dental Implants Procedures

Periodontists also handle dental implant surgeries with high precision and expertise. They assess the jawbone structure to ensure it can securely hold the implant. This procedure promotes tissue growth and aims to regain the functional use of the teeth.

5. Carry Out Cosmetic Procedures

Additionally, periodontists perform cosmetic procedures to enhance patients’ smiles. They can perform gum grafts to manage gum recession and contouring procedures to improve the appearance and health of the gums.

6. Focus on Preventive Care

Finally, periodontists emphasize the importance of prevention. They instruct patients on best practices for maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent the occurrence of gum diseases. They also advocate for regular dental check-ups, ensuring that oral health is continually monitored and potential issues are detected early on.

Promoting these preventive measures helps patients maintain healthy gum tissues, reflecting the adage that prevention is better than cure.

When To See A Periodontist?

Advanced Gum Disease

Periodontal disease patients experiencing signs of advanced gum disease should consider scheduling an appointment with a periodontist. Signs such as persistent bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, or loose teeth could indicate disease progression. Effective disease management may involve strategies both on the basis of treatment from the periodontist and with at-home oral hygiene.

Initial treatment may comprise comprehensive deep cleanings to control bacterial plaque and inflammation, teaching proper tooth brushing techniques, and emphasizing the importance of gum health.

Tooth and Bone Loss 

Periodontists play an instrumental role in the preservation of alveolar bone levels, which is crucial in preventing tooth loss and managing bone loss, particularly in more aggressive forms of periodontitis. They have knowledge of various risk factors related to alveolar bone resorption and can use strategies in combination with these factors to address the issue.

Dental Implants and Prosthetics

Do periodontists do implants? Yes. If you are considering dental implants to replace a missing natural tooth, a periodontist should be consulted. They come with specialized and rigorous postgraduate training programs that enable them to assess the health of your gums and bone tissue accurately. This ensures a successful placement of the implant while minimizing potential complications.

Excess or Receding Gum Tissue

Sometimes, the concern may not be disease-specific. If you are conscious about the appearance of your smile due to excess or receding gum tissue, periodontists can help restore the aesthetics of your mouth. They offer treatments, including crown lengthening and soft tissue grafts, which can dramatically improve the look and health of your gums.

Emergencies and Complex Issues

Emergencies and complex treatments, including cases of acute gingival disease or treatment-resistant chronic periodontitis, can also warrant a visit to a periodontist. They are equipped to handle these contemporary treatment challenges, and their additional training allows them to offer specialized care that general dentists may not be prepared to provide.

What Is The Difference Between Dentists and Periodontists?

1. Focus Area

The critical distinction between dentists and periodontists lies in their focus areas relating to dental health. A dentist caters to various oral health issues, offering an oral exam to identify potential problems. In contrast, a periodontist is the go-to specialist for forms of gum disease, including periodontal disease.

2. Training

General dentists and periodontists go through diverse training levels. After graduating from dental school, dentists are ready to practice their skills. Meanwhile, periodontists receive extra, extensive training. They undergo an additional two to three years of specialized education to focus intensively on treating gum diseases.

3. Disease Treatment

Dentists can manage various oral health problems, including tooth decay, plaque buildup, and the preliminary stages of gum disease. However, periodontists specialize in controlling advanced stages of gum diseases like periodontitis, a severe bacterial infection that can damage the tooth structure if neglected.

4. Dental Surgery

While most dentists can conduct minor invasive procedures, periodontists are highly trained in performing complex oral surgeries. These include periodontal surgery, gum surgery, bone grafts, and procedures related to the maintenance of tooth sockets.

5. Disease Prevention

Both dentists and periodontists have crucial roles in disease prevention. Dentists aid in maintaining overall oral hygiene, helping to prevent tooth decay, and promoting healthy teeth. On the other hand, periodontists focus more on stopping the advancement of gum diseases and reducing the risk of tooth loss.

6. Patient Education

While both professions guide patients regarding oral health, periodontists offer more detailed insights regarding periodontal disease. They thoroughly explain the causes, symptoms, risks, treatment options, and the possibility of prosthetic teeth to replace lost ones. The goal is to ensure patients comprehend their condition and actively participate in their treatment process.

7. Expertise and Skill

Dentists are professionals qualified to carry out tooth extractions and replace missing teeth with dental implants. However, periodontists, due to their additional training, are specialists for cases needing complex tooth extraction or placement of dental implants. They are skilled at ensuring the health of tooth sockets, which are crucial for successful dental implant procedures.

8. Research and Advancements

Periodontists tend to be more involved in research on gum diseases and related treatment options, including surgical procedures and prosthetic teeth. This continuous learning lets them stay updated on the latest methods to manage gum diseases effectively.

9. Special Equipment Utilization

Periodontists often utilize special equipment and techniques that a general dentist might not possess to diagnose and treat gum conditions. This can include advanced imaging tools and specialized surgical instruments, crucial in periodontal surgery.

Choose DNA Dental for Your Periodontal Needs Today

Your oral health is considerably important for your general well-being, and understanding the role of professionals within the field is crucial for maintaining the health of your gums and teeth. DNA Dental is proud to have a diverse staff, including periodontists, dedicated to providing comprehensive, patient-centered care.

For more information, feel free to contact DNA Dental at your convenience. Give us a call at (214)-295-9270. You can also reach out by email at info@dnadentaldallas.com. A healthier, brighter smile is just a phone call or email away.