What Is a Periodontist? A Quick Guide

When we have issues with our teeth, we head to the dentist to get things taken care of. However, sometimes our teeth aren’t the problem, it’s our gums. 

If this is the case, going to the dentist isn’t the best option. Instead, a better choice is to plan a visit to your local periodontist. 

Are you interested in learning more about what a periodontist is and how they can help you with your oral health? Keep reading!

What Is a Periodontist?

A periodontist is a type of dentist who focuses on diagnosing and preventing gum disease. They also provide gum disease treatment and help you manage any warning signs of potential gum disease. 

Gum disease occurs when plaque and bacteria build up on your teeth and cause swelling under the gums. Then, the gum tissue becomes infected, leading to ongoing gum disease. 

Early gum disease is more commonly known as gingivitis. Gingivitis can be cured and even reversed with the right care. However, if not treated in time, it can lead to gum disease, which requires periodontal treatment. 

A periodontist will review your medical and dental history and take a look in your mouth to see what the best treatment plan will be. From there, they’ll use a variety of methods to help you reverse the damage and heal your gums. 

What Does a Periodontist Do?

Periodontists use a combination of nonsurgical and surgical treatments. Each of these treatments is designed to treat and cure gum disease. 

Nonsurgical Treatments

There are many non-surgical methods a periodontist may use to treat your gums. A few common procedures include: 

  • Scaling
  • Root planing
  • Antibiotic treatments
  • Antimicrobial treatments
  • Tray delivery medication treatments

Each of these methods is designed to remove tartar and plaque buildup under the gum line. The exact treatment provided will depend on your individual needs.

Surgical treatments

Sometimes, when periodontitis and gingivitis are advanced, they can cause your gums to recede and expose the roots of your teeth. Or, you may run into another serious hiccup that requires additional care. 

When this happens, your periodontist may need to perform surgical treatments instead of non-surgical treatments. A few common surgical treatments periodontists perform include: 

  • Laser gum therapy
  • Regenerative bone and tissue growth procedures
  • Dental implants
  • Replacement bridges
  • Dental crown lengthening
  • Osseous surgery

These procedures are all designed to treat gum disease. They can help patients reverse dangerous gum disease damage.

Cosmetic Treatments

Periodontists also perform cosmetic procedures. A few common services that periodontists will perform for cosmetic reasons include: 

  • Plastic surgery procedures
  • Ridge augmentations
  • Dental crown lengthening
  • Gum grafts

These treatments can be used to reverse the effects of aging. Or, they can be used to correct cosmetic birth defects. 

When Should I Visit a Periodontist?

As healthy as we’d all like to think we are, sometimes you might need some extra dental care. Here are a few signs that it might be time to pay a visit to your local periodontist. 

You Have Puffy, Swollen Gums

One obvious sign that you have gum disease is if you have excessive inflammation. Both tartar and plaque-forming bacteria cause inflammation of the gums. 

If you notice inflammation forming around your gums, there’s a good chance that you’ve got gingivitis. Leaving it untreated can cause pockets to form which can lead to infection. 

On top of that, swollen gums will typically be a dark shade of red. They make your teeth look smaller and can make chewing uncomfortable due to the puffiness.

Your Gums Bleed Easily and Frequently 

Have you ever flossed your teeth only to find that your gums bleed? What about when you brush your teeth? If you notice that your gums seem to be bleeding easily, it might be a sign that you have gingivitis. 

When you brush your teeth, check for tenderness when you brush. If your toothbrush is tinted pink after brushing, there’s a chance your gums are bleeding. 

Bleeding gums is a good sign that it’s time to pay a visit to the periodontist. 

You Have Bad Breath

Having bad breath is extremely common and shouldn’t make you panic immediately. However, if you seem to have lingering bad breath, there might be something going on inside your mouth. 

People who take good care of their mouth but still struggle with bad breath may have holes in the teeth. This can lead to infection which can cause gingivitis to develop. 

Chewing Is Painful

People who have inflamed gums may have difficulty or pain when chewing. They may also have loose teeth, which causes sensitivity when eating food. 

If you notice that chewing causes your teeth to become sensitive or that it’s difficult to chew, it’s time to contact your dentists. Gum disease could be causing issues in the mouth, so it’s important to get things checked out. 

Your Gums Are Receding

Some people have receding gums from excessive brushing. Others have receding gums from gum disease. 

In both cases, a periodontist can fix this issue and take a look at what treatment options will be best for repairing any gum damage. He or she will also be able to prevent new or worsening symptoms from arising.

Pay a Visit to the Periodontist

Visiting the periodontist is a great way to get treatment for gum disease, undergo laser gum therapy, get dental implants fitted, and so much more! As such, having a periodontist in your phone book is an important part of caring for your oral health. 

Do you need to schedule a visit with a periodontist of your own? Contact our office and we’ll help you set up an appointment!

Please fill out the form below to request an appointment or call us at 781-812-0740.

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