What is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infections and diseases in the tissues surrounding the teeth and the jawbone to which the teeth are anchored. Periodontists have two or three additional years of post-doctorate training beyond dental school and are familiar with the most advanced techniques necessary to treat periodontal disease and place or treat dental implants. Periodontists also perform a vast range of cosmetic procedures to enhance the smile to its fullest extent, such as soft tissue surgeries to recontour, decrease or enhance the gumline.
Referrals from General Dentists and Self Referral
There are several ways treatment from a periodontist may be sought. In the course of a regular dental check up, if the general dentist or hygienist finds signs of gingivitis periodontitis or gingival architecture change a consultation with a periodontist may be recommended.
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it is important that you schedule an appointment with a periodontist without delay:
Bleeding while eating or brushing – Unexplained bleeding while consuming food or during the course of daily cleaning is one of the most common signs of periodontal inflammation.
Bad breath – Continued halitosis (bad breath) which persists even with persistent home care, can be indicative of gingivitis, periodontitis or the beginnings of a tooth or gum infection.
Loose teeth and gum recession – Longer looking teeth can signal recession of the gums and bone loss due to periodontal disease. As this disease progresses and affects the jawbone, the teeth may become loose or be lost altogether.
Related health conditions – Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteopenia/osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease and some autoimmune diseases may be correlated with periodontal disease. Patient's with replaced cardiovascular or heart valves and those with prosthetic joints may be susceptible to bacteria that arises from the oral cavity.
Be sure to ask your periodontist if you have any questions or concerns.