What is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and the treatment of oral inflammation.
Periodontists often treat more problematic periodontal cases, such as those with severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, such as scaling and root planing (in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned) or root surface debridement (in which damaged tissue is removed). They can also treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures. In addition, periodontists are specially trained in the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants.
What happens during a periodontal consultation?
During the first visit, the periodontist usually reviews the patient’s complete medical and dental histories. It is extremely important for the periodontist to know if any medications are being taken or if the patient is being treated for any condition that can affect periodontal care, such as heart disease, diabetes, or pregnancy.
The periodontist examines the gums, checks to see if there is any gum line recession, assesses how the teeth fit together when biting, and checks the teeth to see if any are loose. The periodontist will also take a small measuring instrument called a probe and place it between the teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets; this helps the periodontist assess the health of the gums. X-rays may also be taken to observe the health of the bone below the gum line.
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a very common condition in which the gums and deeper periodontal structures become inflamed. This inflammation of the gums, which usually takes the form of redness, swelling and a tendency to bleed during tooth brushing, is the body’s response to certain bacteria that have been allowed to accumulate on the teeth.
Although part of the body’s defence system, this inflammatory response can eventually cause serious damage. If left unchecked the inflammation can spread down below the gums and along the roots of the teeth, causing destruction of the periodontal ligament and the supporting bone. This ultimately leads to the loosening and potential loss of the teeth.
How do I recognise Periodontitis?
Periodontitis always begins with inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis. This is not always easy to recognise but one of the first signs that you may become aware of is bleeding from the gums when you brush your teeth. The gums may look red and swollen and you might notice a discoloured layer of bacterial plaque on the teeth.
What can I do to prevent periodontal disease?
Periodontal inflammation is not inevitable. The development of gingivitis and periodontitis can be prevented by adopting thorough oral hygiene habits, alongside regular professional examinations and support. We have two experienced hygienists working at both practices to ensure all our patients have access to great oral hygiene and to help prevent future dental problems.
For more information please download our Periodontal Booklet.