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What Is A Periodontist?
Karl A. Smith, DDS, LLC
. http://www.drkarlsmith.com/

What Is A Periodontist?

A periodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease, and in the placement of dental implants. They are experts in the treatment of oral inflammation, as they receive three additional years of education beyond dental school. They are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, and are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.

What is periodontal disease, and am I at risk of developing it?The term “periodontal” simply means “around the tooth.” It affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth. Also known as gum disease, it is generally attributed to the bacteria in dental plaque, which causes the gums to become inflamed and infected.

Is periodontal disease contagious?Research has indicated that the bacteria that cause gum disease can be passed through saliva. We recommend being screened regularly if you are potentially at risk or have a family history of periodontal disease or tooth loss.

My gums bleed when I brush. Is this normal?Healthy gums should not bleed. Other signs include red, swollen or tender gums; sores in your mouth; gums that have pulled away from the teeth; persistent bad breath; pus between the teeth and gums; loose or separating teeth; a change in the way the teeth fit together; and a change in the fit of partial dentures. If you have any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment for a complete screening.

What is a typical periodontal treatment?Periodontal treatments include scaling and root planing (in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned) and root surface debridement (in which damaged tissue is removed).

My first visit will include?The periodontist will review your complete medical and dental history. It is important to list all of your medications and any medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or pregnancy. They will then examine your gums, and check to see if there is any gum line recession, assess how your teeth fit together when biting, and check to see if any of your teeth are loose. They will also take a small measuring instrument (probe) and place it between your teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets. X-rays are generally taken to observe the health of the bone below the gum line.

My family dentist says they can provide periodontal treatment, is this true?All general dentists are trained and capable of performing basic periodontal therapy for mild/early forms of periodontal disease. For patients who are diagnosed with moderate and advanced forms of periodontal disease, treatment by a periodontist is indicated.

What is maintenance therapy?It is used to help prevent further infection in patients who have received periodontal treatment. Your periodontist will tailor a program to fit your needs, which will include periodontal checkups, plaque and tartar removal and sometimes polishing your teeth or checking your bite. The frequency of visits varies from every few weeks to four times per year.

Are dental implants the best choice for me if I have missing teeth? Dental implants have a natural look and feel and can help prevent shifting of surrounding teeth. Implants are often preferred to bridges and dentures because they are more secure and do not require the alteration of adjacent teeth.

Is it true that any dentist can place dental implants and that most cases are very simple? Periodontists are surgical dental specialists who have completed extensive surgical training in dental surgery. By seeing a board certified periodontal specialist, you are guaranteed to receive the highest standard of care. They also have the ability to place dental implants as well as manage other surgical aspects related to implant dentistry.

Take control of your preventative dental health. Make an appointment for a periodontal evaluation today. Taking care of your teeth and gums will not only help enhance your smile, but will help you maintain your overall health.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130