Some dentists will choose to specialise in one particular area of dentistry, such as periodontist, which focuses specifically on the soft tissue and jawbone in your mouth. After a dentist has finished their standard dental training, they can then choose to specialise is something – and this will take three more years of academic study, and then a residency in a periodontology area.
The key thing for a new periodontist to learn is the difference between the surgical and the non-surgical way of treating their patients, as well as the different uses for all of the various tools that are at a periodontist’s reach.
Problems A Periodontist Can Treat
There are three areas that a periodontist will mainly work on:
- The prevention of periodontitis, or gum disease
- Any conditions that will impact the gums and jawbone
- The treatment of periodontitis, bone loss, and gingivitis
Periodontitis is the number one leading cause of tooth loss in adults, and the disease progress if not treated. A periodontist will treat the infection when it is diagnosed, and the early that it is caught, the simpler and easier the treatment. A periodontist would then also talk through with their patient all of the right oral hygiene techniques, in order to prevent the disease from returning.
Common conditions that a periodontist will treat include:
- Gingivitis: inflammation of the gum tissue that is mild, that may have the symptoms of pain and bleeding
- Periodontitis: whether it be mild or moderate, it is distinguished by the fact that the infection has left pockets in the gum tissue at least 4 mm in depth
- Advanced periodontitis: this is when the pocket size has grown larger than 6 mm in depth, and if left untreated can cause bone loss and the shifting of teeth
- Missing teeth: if teeth are lost due to gum disease, then the periodontist can work to replace them with false teeth that not only look the same, but will also function the same
Procedures Performed By A Periodontist
There are many different treatment options at the fingertips of a periodontist when it comes to preventing and treating gum disease, and replacing teeth in order to return someone’s smile back to normal. These treatments include:
- Implant placement: a prosthetic false tooth that looks exactly the same as your other teeth can be placed in any gaps where teeth are missing
- Hard tissue recontouring: also called osteoplasty, this is a process in which the dentist shapes the gums to hide the pockets created through gum disease
- Soft tissue recontouring: also called gingivoplasty, this is a process in which the gum line is straightened along the tooth line by the dentist
- Bone grafting: dental implants can only be given if there is enough bone to graft them onto, and if there is not, the dentist may graft or grow some
- Deep pocket cleaning: as gum disease progresses it can become difficult for the patient to really clean inside those pockets in the gums. The dentist can provide a cleaning service that includes root planing and scaling, with local anaesthetic if required, to remove the bacteria
- Crown lengthening: gum tissue can be moved around by the dentist in order to make a tooth look more natural
To make an appointment with Dr. Woods for a free periodontal consultation, call (619) 640-5100.