Have you gone for a routine dental check-up or dental care appointment, and been told that your gums are diseased? Did your dentist or dental hygienist refer you to a periodontist? It’s understandable to feel a little nervous, especially if you are unsure of what a periodontist does, so let’s put your mind at ease.
A dentist with three additional years of training in specialized dentistry is known as a periodontist. This means that all periodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are periodontists. The three extra years of training focus on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum disease, as well as dental implants. Once qualified, they are then certified with the American Board of Periodontology.
When Will A Dentist Refer You To A Periodontist?
Your dentist may refer you to a periodontist if they determine that:
- Your gums have receded or you complain of them being sensitive.
- You have bad breath that does not improve even after you have brushed your teeth.
- Your gums bleed while you are eating or brushing your teeth.
- Your gums show signs of infection (gingivitis) or are inflamed.
- You have bone loss (periodontitis) resulting in loose teeth.
- You will also require a regular periodontist consultation if you suffer from:
- Cardiac disease
What Happens At A Periodontist Consultation?
To make a diagnosis and determine the correct course of treatment, the periodontist will:
Compile A Complete Medical History
You will be required to give a full medical history at the first consultation. This will include answering questions like:
- Are you pregnant?
- Do you have any medical comorbidities like hypertension, diabetes, or cardiac issues?
- Are you taking any chronic medication? (If so, you will need to provide a detailed list of all medications.)
- Do you have a family history of any medical or genetic conditions?
- Are you a smoker?
Examine Your Teeth And Gums
The periodontist will carefully examine your teeth and gums. They will take special note of:
- Signs that the gums are receding.
- Whether your teeth fit together properly when you bite.
- Any signs of loose teeth.
Measure The Periodontal Pockets
The space between the teeth and gums is known as the periodontal pocket. Using a special dental probe, the periodontist will measure the size of the pocket.
Take An X-Ray
An x-ray will be taken to assess the total health of the jaw bone.
Prescribe A Course Of Treatment
Once the periodontist has processed all the relevant information, they will make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the course of treatment. This treatment may/may not involve minor surgery.
What Treatments Would A Periodontist Prescribe?
After the initial consultation, the periodontist will formulate the relevant treatment plan. The treatment they prescribe may be:
Surgical intervention usually involves admission to a hospital and the involvement of an anesthesiologist. The types of treatments that would require surgical intervention include:
- Gum grafts.
- Laser treatments
- Dental implants
- Regenerative procedures
- Dental crown lengthening
- Periodontal pocket reduction (Osseous Surgery)
- Bone grafts.
Non-surgical treatment such as scaling and root planning is usually prescribed for the removal of severe plaque or tartar build-up.
Periodontal cosmetic treatments, depending on the complexity, may/may not involve surgery. Some of these treatments include:
- Dental crown lengthening – this is usually performed on patients who present with a “gummy smile”
- Gum grafts – performed on patients with very long teeth.
- Ridge augmentation – this treatment is performed to restore the natural curve of the jaw after the insertion of an artificial tooth.
Eriks Dental Group
If you are looking for comprehensive dental service in Boynton Beach, you’ve come to the right place. Eriks Dental Group has a staff of specialists that provide patients with the highest quality of care. For a five-star dental experience, contact us at 561-733-4004.