What is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infections and diseases in the soft tissues surrounding the teeth, and the jawbone to which the teeth are anchored. Periodontists have to train an additional three years beyond the four years of regular dental school and are familiar with the most advanced techniques necessary to treat periodontal disease and place dental implants. Periodontists also perform a vast range of cosmetic procedures to enhance the smile to its fullest extent.
Conditions Treated by a Periodontist
The periodontist is mainly concerned with: preventing the onset of gum disease (periodontal disease), diagnosing conditions affecting the gums and jawbone, and treating gingivitis, periodontitis, and bone loss. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition and the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world.
The periodontist is able to treat mild, moderate, and advanced gum disease by first addressing the bacterial infection at the root of the problem, providing periodontal treatment, then providing information and education on good oral hygiene and the effective cleaning of the teeth.
The most common conditions treated by a periodontist are:
- Gingivitis – This is the mild inflammation of the gums, which may or may not be signified by pain and bleeding.
- Mild/moderate periodontitis – When the pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues are measured to be between 4-6mm, it is classified as moderate periodontitis (gum disease).
- Advanced periodontitis – When the pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues, in general, exceed 6mm in depth, significant bone loss may occur, causing shifting or loss of teeth.
- Missing teeth – When teeth are missing as a result of bone loss, the periodontist can implant prosthetic teeth. These teeth are anchored to the jawbone and restore functionality to the mouth.