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A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating gum disease. In addition to completing  dental school, periodontists train for three additional years in their field of expertise, giving them the ability to effectively treat gum-related conditions. They also treat inflammation of the oral cavity and are specialized in the placement of dental implants and performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.

Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, including:

  • Scaling and root planing
  • Root surface debridement
  • Severe periodontitis
  • Dental implants
dental patient with dentist

During your first visit, the periodontist will review your complete medical and dental history and be made aware of any condition that may affect your periodontal treatment, including heart disease, diabetes, or pregnancy.

Your gums will be examined to see if there is evidence of gum recession, abscesses, bite issues, and check to see if you have any loose teeth. Your gums will be probed to determine the depth of periodontal pockets, a way to check the health of your gums. X-rays may be taken to review the health of the bone below your gum line. 

With an increase in the occurrence of periodontal disease and other diseases associated with aging, patients with more complicated cases may be managed by a partnership between your dentist and your periodontist.

Why Should You See a Periodontist?

There are several different dental specialists, but not all of them provide the same services. A periodontist specializes in treating conditions that affect the gums and supporting structures. They can perform surgeries on your teeth, soft tissues, or jaw. You should visit a periodontist if you have:

Puffy Gums

Gums that look swollen and puffy may be a sign that your gums are irritated. This is a condition known as gingivitis, and it is the first stage of periodontal disease. You may also notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, and this bleeding does not stop for at least two minutes after removing the foreign object from between your teeth.

Bleeding Gums

You may notice bleeding when you brush your teeth, floss, or use dental picks. Your gums may bleed even though you do not have any other gum disease symptoms. Bleeding gums can be an early sign that bacteria have already begun to damage the tissues in your mouth. This can lead to a full-blown infection if it is not treated, so it is best to see a periodontist as soon as you notice any bleeding.

Gum Pockets

People with gum disease often have deep pockets between their teeth and gums. These gaps can signify future tooth loss if they are not treated. A periodontist has the tools to detect these deeper tissues, and they can remove bacteria from these spaces before it leads to serious medical problems.

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is an infection caused by bacteria that accumulate around the base of your teeth. This type of bacteria is called plaque, and it can be removed with thorough brushing and flossing daily. However, if you do not remove plaque from between your teeth every day, this substance builds up faster than you can get rid of it. When plaque builds up, tartar forms, and this substance can damage the gums very quickly.

Pain While Eating Hot or Cold Foods

When you eat either too hot or too cold, it can be painful because your gums and teeth do not like extreme temperatures. This can be a sign that there is swelling and inflammation in the supporting structures of the teeth and gums. If you notice this problem when eating certain foods, it may indicate gum disease.

Dental professionals do not need to be expensive, but they should offer services in line with your needs. A general dentist does many things as a periodontist, but there may be times when you need to see a specialist rather than your regular orthodontist.
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