Periodontists receive extensive training, including three additional years of education beyond dental school, in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. In addition, they can perform cosmetic periodontal procedures to help you achieve the smile you desire.
The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious bacterial infections that destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. Left untreated, these diseases can lead to tooth loss.
Sometimes people have an inadequate amount of gum tissue; they may have been born that way or they may have gradually lost the soft tissue and underlying bone. Without sufficient tissue covering the root, the patient can experience sensitivity in the area. A periodontist can perform procedures to re-create the lost tissues and cover up exposed root surfaces.
A periodontist can re-contour the bone and gums surrounding your teeth to create proper tooth lengths for placement of a veneer or crown or to perfect your smile.
Dental implants, which have been called the next-best thing to natural teeth, can successfully replace teeth lost to periodontal disease, decay, or trauma. Implants are placed into your jaw bone and allowed to heal. They can then be used, like the roots of your teeth, to support a natural-looking replacement.
Implants allow you to bite and chew naturally (so you can enjoy your favorite foods again!), keep other teeth in position, and enable you to speak naturally. An implant also acts like a natural tooth root and keeps the underlying bone healthy, which is important for maintaining the structure of your face. Traditional methods of restoring teeth—bridges, partials, and dentures—all have significant drawbacks, including inability to chew certain foods, shifting or slipping, bone loss, and, in the case of bridges, grinding down healthy adjacent teeth. Implants are the most natural-looking replacement for missing teeth; they function naturally and are beautiful and permanent.
Implants are an option for one tooth or several missing teeth. They even can be used to anchor dentures.
When there is a suspicious-looking area in your mouth (gums, tongue, or roof of mouth), a periodontist can surgically remove a specimen (biopsy) and send it to a pathologist for examination.
If there is gum tissue between the top two front teeth, a periodontist can perform a frenectomy to remove that tissue.
Sometimes during an orthodontic treatment plan, the orthodontist will request that a periodontist surgically uncover a tooth so treatment can continue.
If all efforts to save a tooth have failed, a periodontist can surgically remove the tooth.
A periodontist coordinates with your general dentist to schedule regular cleanings to maintain your overall periodontal health.