A periodontist is a highly trained dentist who prevents, diagnoses and treats periodontal disease, a condition (or series of conditions) that infects and damages the gums and jawbone. In addition, a periodontal specialist has several skills, such as the ability to place dental implants, treat oral inflammation and provide preventative dentistry at an expert level.
Periodontists have completed several years of extra dental training and are concerned with maintaining the function, health and aesthetics of the jawbone and tissues.
Reasons for periodontal treatment
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which begins with mild gum inflammation called gingivitis. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults living in the developed world, and should be taken very seriously. Periodontal disease (often called gum disease) is typically signified by red, swollen, painful, or bleeding gums, but in some cases has no noticeable symptoms.
To become a periodontist, a candidate must complete an extensive training program that includes three additional years of post-dental school education. This high level of education enables periodontist specialists to perform procedures that promote healthy, functioning teeth and gums.
Do I Need Periodontal Treatment?
This may be a question you ask yourself if you experience one or more of the following symptoms: inflamed, swollen or tender gums; bleeding gums while brushing, flossing, or eating; receding gums; loose or shifting teeth; open, pus-filled sores in the gums and mouth; and persistent bad breath (or halitosis). In a number of cases, however, no obvious or observable signs of periodontal disease may present themselves. Many periodontal issues progress over time from mild gum inflammation (also known as gingivitis) to advanced conditions such as red, swollen gums, loosened teeth, and pain while chewing.
So what causes periodontal disease? The biggest culprit is plaque, which is the sticky film or bacteria mass that coats teeth. Whereas healthy gum tissues surround and support teeth, as well as help keep the jawbone in place, plaque corrodes tissues and the jawbone so that they cannot operate at peak condition. If left untreated, this plaque eventually hardens and forms tartar, a brown or pale yellow substance that surrounds teeth and causes dental decay and gum disease. In addition, this decay will cause the jawbone to recede and teeth to become loose.
How Can a Periodontist Specialist Help?
Fortunately, a periodontist specialist is able to treat problematic dental cases, as well as deliver a wide range of preventative dentistry treatments. These treatments include the following:
- Reverse the effects of advanced gum disease symptoms such as bleeding or swollen gums and a receding jawline
- Target localized gum recession that results in the incidence and spread of gum disease and infection
- Lengthen the crown (or crowns) of a tooth (or teeth) by removing the infected or jutting soft tissue that surrounds it (or them)
- Recontouring uneven gum lines in order to recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have eroded due to bone loss
What Happens During My Periodontal Procedure?
During your initial visit, a periodontal specialist will review your complete medical and dental histories in order to determine your sensitivity to any particular medications and any pre-existing conditions that may affect your dental care. From there, your periodontist will conduct a comprehensive oral examination to check for signs or symptoms of disease. In addition, your periodontist may remove plaque or tartar from your teeth in order to reverse any degeneration; in some cases, however, periodontal disease may be too advanced for routine cleaning, in which case your specialist will recommend the procedure that will restore you back to oral health as efficiently and as painlessly as possible.