What is a Periodontist and When Do You Need To See One?

A periodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum diseases and other conditions that affect the supporting structures of teeth.

Gum disease affects millions of people worldwide, and it’s a leading cause of tooth loss. It’s often overlooked and left untreated until it’s too late. Regular dental check-ups can help detect gum disease early, but if it’s already advanced, you may need to see a periodontist.

When your teeth and gums are healthy, it’s easy to take them for granted. However, if you’re experiencing any gum problems or have been diagnosed with gum disease, it’s essential to see a periodontist. We’ll share an overview of periodontal disease and when to see a periodontist.

Understanding Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gum tissues and supporting structures around the teeth. It is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth, which triggers an inflammatory response in the gums. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause damage to the teeth, gums, and bones, leading to tooth loss and other serious health problems.

There are two main stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease and is characterized by inflammation of the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis may include redness, swelling, and bleeding gums. If caught early enough, gingivitis can usually be reversed with proper oral hygiene and professional dental cleanings.

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. This stage of periodontal disease involves the destruction of the gum tissue and the supporting bone around the teeth. Symptoms of periodontitis may include bad breath, loose teeth, and receding gums. Periodontitis cannot be cured, but it can be managed with proper treatment, including professional cleanings, scaling and root planing, and sometimes surgery.

What is a Periodontist?

A periodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease and other conditions that affect the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Periodontists receive extensive training beyond their general dentistry education to specialize in this area.

Periodontists must complete four years of dental school as well as specialized training in a periodontics residency program. During their residency, they receive advanced education in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, as well as additional training in surgical procedures such as gum grafting, dental implant placement, and bone regeneration. They also learn how to manage complex cases of periodontitis and other gum diseases.

In addition to their formal education and training, periodontists are required to pass a rigorous certification exam to become board-certified by the American Board of Periodontology. This certification process ensures that periodontists have met the highest standards of education, training, and clinical proficiency in their field.

Common Procedures Performed by a Periodontist

Some of the most common treatments performed by a periodontist include scaling and root planing, which involves deep cleaning of the teeth and gums to remove plaque and tartar buildup; bone grafting, and gum grafting. Other periodontal procedures may include crown lengthening, pocket reduction surgery, and ridge augmentation.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure that is used to treat periodontal disease. During this procedure, a dental professional will clean the surfaces of the teeth and remove any plaque, tartar, and bacteria that have accumulated below the gum line. This process is called scaling. Once the teeth are clean, the roots of the teeth are smoothed out, a process called root planing, to help the gums reattach to the teeth and prevent further buildup of bacteria.

Scaling and root planing is typically done under local anesthesia and may take more than one appointment, depending on the extent of the periodontal disease. It is an effective treatment for mild to moderate cases of periodontitis and is often recommended before more invasive treatments are considered.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure in which new bone tissue is transplanted to a specific site in the body where there is a defect or loss of bone. Bone grafting is commonly used to restore bone that has been lost due to periodontal disease or tooth extraction, or to support the placement of dental implants.

Gum Grafting

Gum grafting is a type of periodontal surgery in which gum tissue is transplanted from one part of the mouth to another to restore or augment the gum line. A gum graft is commonly used to treat gum recession, a condition in which the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing the tooth roots and potentially leading to tooth sensitivity, decay, or loss.

Gum grafting is a highly effective treatment for gum recession and can help reduce tooth sensitivity, prevent further gum recession, and improve the overall appearance of the teeth and gums.

When to See a Periodontist

You should consider seeing a periodontist if you experience any of the following symptoms or conditions:

    • Oral inflammation: If you notice that your gums are red, swollen, or bleed easily when you brush or floss, it could be a sign of gingivitis or more advanced gum disease.

    • Gum recession: If you notice that your teeth appear longer than normal or your gum line has receded, it could be a sign of gum recession, which can lead to tooth sensitivity or loss.

    • Loose teeth: If you have loose teeth or changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite or chew, it could be a sign of advanced gum disease.

    • Persistent bad breath: If you have chronic bad breath that doesn’t go away with brushing, flossing, or mouthwash, it could be a sign of gum disease or other dental issues.

    • Family history: If you have a family history of gum disease or have previously been diagnosed with gum disease, you may benefit from regular check-ups with a periodontist.

Contact Bergens Periodontics & Implant Industry for Periodontal Treatment in Daytona Beach, FL

If you have gum disease or are in need of periodontal care in Daytona Beach, FL, give us a call right away to get your oral health back on track. We can provide a comprehensive evaluation of your gum health and develop personalized treatment options to address any issues that may be present.