A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease. Gum disease is an oral inflammation caused by bacteria and if left untreated, can cause the loss of bone and teeth. Periodontists receive extensive training in order to treat and diagnose gum disease, including three years of additional education after completing their dental school.
Periodontists are called in to treat severe gum disease and are consulted on cases where a complex medical history is involved. A full list of medications and medical conditions are important to provide at the time of the appointment, as conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and pregnancy can effect the treatment.
There are many treatments for periodontal disease, ranging from less invasive procedures like scaling and root planing (where the infected surface of the root is cleaned) or root surface debridement (where the damaged tissue is removed) to surgical procedures.
The goal is always to save the tooth and gum tissue, but in the event that the tooth must be removed for the overall health of the mouth, periodontists are trained in the placement of dental implants to save the surrounding bone and tissue.
Who Should See a Periodontist?
While a general dentist can manage early periodontal care and prevention, moderate to severe cases of periodontal disease are better referred to the specialist. Recent research suggests a correlation between gum disease and age related diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Someone with diabetes or heart disease is more lively to develop gum disease and should make sure to maintain regular visits to their general dentist to catch any problems before they become severe.
Here at Dental Specialist of Niles, the partnership between your general dentist and our periodontist is one to ensure the best gum health possible!