What Is A Periodontist?
Dentists who specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of periodontal disease are called periodontists. They also place dental implants for patients with missing teeth and treat conditions caused by oral inflammation. A periodontist must have a minimum of three years of additional education after completing dental school. On the job, a periodontist must be familiar with the most recent techniques for evaluating and treating all types of periodontal disease in addition to having the ability to perform certain cosmetic procedures.
Family dentists often refer patients with significant gum disease or those who have a complicated medical history to a periodontist for treatment. They can complete a variety of procedures, including root planing and scaling. This is usually the treatment of choice for patients with advanced gum disease as regular brushing and bi-annual professional cleaning is not enough to remove the damage. Periodontists also perform root surface debridement to remove damaged tissue from the mouth. A dentist trained in this specialty performs a variety of surgical procedures in addition to assisting patients with dental implants.
When a patient visits a periodontist for the first time, he or she reviews the complete dental and medical histories. The periodontist must be aware of any medications the patient currently takes to ensure that it doesn’t conflict with treatment. He or she also needs to know if a patient is pregnant or has a chronic condition like diabetes or heart disease prior to performing any work on the patient.
Some of the specific tasks a periodontist performs include examining the gum line for recessions, checking for loose teeth, and reviewing how the teeth come together when the patient bites down. If the periodontist notices spaces, he or she will place a small probe between the patient’s gums and teeth to assess their depth. These are called periodontal pockets, and the presence of them means that the patient’s oral health is not as good as it could be. The periodontist may also take X-rays to determine if the bone that sits below the gum line is healthy.
Do You Need to See a Periodontist?
You may have periodontal disease if your gums bleed regularly, you notice air pockets, or you have a large accumulation of plaque on your teeth. The latter can happen due to poor oral hygiene habits or frequently consuming foods with a large amount of sugar in them. Patients who are over age 60, have Type II diabetes, smoke, use illicit drugs, are pregnant, or have an ill-fitting dental appliance are at higher risk for developing periodontal disease as well. It’s important not to delay in seeking treatment from a periodontist if you have some of these risk factors or you are experience any of the symptoms already mentioned.
Finding A Periodontist
If you think you need to see a periodontist, the first place to check is with your regular dentist. He or she likely has a relationship with a periodontal specialist, and can help setup an appointment. Another good source for finding one is the Internet. A periodontist that ranks well on Google probably has hired a periodontist SEO like DDSRank to help improve their visibility online. This is a good sign that he or she is interested in promoting their practice, and therefore are taking new patients.