Why Should You See a Periodontist?
It an happen when you least expect it. One morning, you’re brushing your teeth and when you look down, you notice a tinge of pink on your toothbrush. Most people disregard it, but mild gum bleeding can be a sign of early gum disease. Your mouth may feel healthy, and you may not notice any obvious signs of disease. The only warning you may receive is the slight bleeding you noticed on your toothbrush. A thorough exam by a periodontist will identify any potential problems and prevent further damage.
Perhaps during a routine tooth cleaning at your regular dentist, they recommended that you make an appointment with Walker Periodontist and Implants for further dental care. Regardless of your reason for seeking the assistance of a periodontist, you may have questions.
What is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who has had three additional years of training in specialized dentistry. Those three additional years are spent in a residency training focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of periodontal gum disease. They are experts in the areas of tooth and gum disease. In addition, periodontists are also trained in dental implants.
What does a periodontist treat?
Periodontists treat patients with a wide range of gum related problems. Patients with complex medical histories and a history of gum disease may require the specialized options that a periodontist offers. Periodontist Coppell, like most periodontists, also offers scaling, root planning and root surface debridement. (In root planning, the infected surface of a root is cleaned, and in root surface debridement, the damaged tissue is removed completely.)
Periodontists are also trained in dental implants. An implant is performed during a minor medical procedure where a prosthetic tooth is placed into the jawbone. These tooth replacements are natural looking and fully functional and can give the patient years of problem-free usage.
Crown lengthening can be used to change the appearance of a “gummy” smile by cutting away excess gum tissue to allow for more of the tooth to be visible. In addition, gum graft surgery may be conducted to cover the exposed roots of a tooth. Donor tissue may be collected from a donor or from elsewhere in your mouth and “grafted” in.
Periodontal disease may cause the gum to pull away from the teeth, and minor surgery will need to be performed. In this situation, the periodontist will open a small flap in your gum tissue, allowing for the rotten gum tissue to be removed. Once this is performed, healthy gum tissue can begin to reattach to the bone.
What should you expect during a periodontist visit?
Often, your general practice dentist will refer you to a periodontist. During your initial visit, you can expect to provide the dentist with a complete medical history. Your periodontist will need to know of any medications you’re taking, along with any conditions that may affect your periodontal care. These conditions may include pregnancy, diabetes, or heart disease. Inform the dentist of any family history of these or other medical conditions that could pose a problem.
The periodontist will examine your gums and inspect for any recession or damage. They will assess how well your teeth fit together when you bite down and check to see if any of your teeth are loose.
A probe, a dental measuring instrument, is placed between the gums and teeth. This measures the periodontal pockets, or the space between the teeth and gums. To view the total health of your bone below your gums, the periodontist will likely take x-rays.
Who should see a periodontist?
Anyone exhibiting signs of gum disease should schedule an appointment with a periodontist. Your dentist may refer you to a periodontist if they are unable to treat you. If you are under age 35 and have deeper gum pockets than normal, your dentist may suggest you see a periodontist.
If you are worried about your gums or feel as though your dentist cannot treat you, you may seek out a periodontist for assistance on your own.
Additional symptoms to watch for:
Halitosis (bad breath) that continues even after a comprehensive dental hygiene program can be a sign of gum infection, gingivitis, or periodontitis.
Gum recession and/or tooth loss
Teeth that begin to look longer may be an indication of gum recession. Periodontitis may also lead to bone loss due to the disease attacking the jawbone. As the jaw deteriorates, teeth may become loose and ultimately fall out.
Tooth loss due to injury or tooth decay can impair your ability to eat and ruin your smile. You may be dissatisfied with your smile for other reasons as well. Periodontist Chappell can discuss ways to improve the look of your smile with periodontal plastic surgery options.
Choosing a periodontist
It is important to look at several periodontists in your area and evaluate which one will be most suitable to meet your needs. A referral from your dentist is an indication of a relationship between your dentist and the periodontist specialist. This can be beneficial as it allows for easy information sharing, as well as the coordination of care between your dentist and the periodontist. Further, your dentist can provide the periodontist with your complete patient care history.
If you are not satisfied with the periodontist you were referred to, you are not obligated to use them. You can seek out opinions from trusted friends and relatives, check out their websites and conduct your own “interview” process.
During the selection process, look for a periodontist who is well-trained in the work you may need to have done. Every periodontist has different processes and procedures, so it is imperative that you look for one that is up to date with trainings and stays current on the industry’s best practices. The periodontist should be focused on what is best for the patient and their dental needs.
Contact Walker Periodontist and Implant Dentistry at (972) 462-9800 for diagnosis and treatment.
Do you need the services of a periodontist? Contact the offices of Walker Periodontist and Implant Dentistry at (972) 462-9800 to schedule a consultation with one of our highly trained associates. Periodontist Chappell would be happy to discuss your options and treatment plans available for any dental work that you may need completed. Let us help you get back to a healthy smile. Call today!
Stephen S. Walker, D.D.S., M.S.
Dr. Walker is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Periodontology. He grew up in Dallas and attended Baylor College of Dentistry. While at Baylor, he was a member of the Odontological Honors Society and was selected to receive the Oral Biology Award and Merritt-Parks Award in Periodontics.