If you are concerned about your gums because they bleed when you brush or they look swollen, then you should visit a periodontist. This post explains what a periodontist is and the treatments they provide.
What Is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a trained professional specialized in diagnosing and treating gum disease. Gum disease usually occurs when the tissue around your gums becomes infected, leading to inflammation. Bacteria grows and causes swelling as it spreads around your gum line.
The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis. You can control this condition yourself by simply keeping your mouth clean by brushing and flossing. If you have more advanced gum disease, you may need to undergo much more extensive treatment. To understand the extent of the issue, the periodontist will review your medical history and conduct a dental exam. This will help them find the best treatment option for you.
There are two types of treatment, surgical and non-surgical. We will touch on a little of both.
Scaling is a non-surgical treatment to remove plaque and tartar under the gum line. Scaling paired with antibiotics is very successful in fighting early gum disease. Alternatively, a periodontist may prescribe a perio tray delivery system to administer medicine to your gums while at home. It looks similar to a mouthguard and delivers medicine below the gums. The patient wears the mouthpiece for a few minutes each day while the medication fights the infection.
Periodontitis and even gingivitis can cause your entire gum line to recede. When this happens the roots of your teeth are exposed and vulnerable to bacteria that lead to infection. To treat this issue, a periodontist can do a gum graft to cover the exposed tooth. We will talk more about this later.
Education of a Periodontist
A periodontist’s education starts out with dental school. After they receive their degree they go into specialized training for four more years along with a residency in periodontics. The periodontist also undergoes a written and oral exam in order to become certified.
A periodontist can offer a huge range of services to improve your oral health. Some of these services include:
Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants are a common procedure that periodontists perform. It is the ideal solution to missing teeth because they look, feel, and function like real teeth. The periodontist anchors the implant into the jawbone acting as a root of the tooth. The doctor attaches a crown to the implant that looks exactly like a real tooth. Dental implants can last a lifetime if cared for properly with regular brushing and flossing.
Gum disease is a condition that periodontists most often treat. There are a number of treatments to stop the disease from progressing including antibiotics, root planing, and LANAP.
LANAP stands for Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure. It is also known as laser gum surgery. LANAP eliminates any diseased gum tissue by using a very specific laser frequency that targets only diseased tissue. The laser kills any bad bacteria and allows a blood barrier to form around the tooth. With the removal of bad bacterial and diseased tissue combined with a blood barrier, new and healthy gum tissue can form. This closes the gap between tooth and gums that gum disease creates and allows the gums to heal.
Gum grafting involves removing tissue from the roof of the mouth or receiving tissue from a donor. The periodontist sutures the gum graft over the exposed tooth to protect it from further gum recession and harmful bacteria.
Pinhole Surgical Technique
The pinhole surgery technique is a minimally invasive alternative to traditional gum grafting to treat gingival recession. The periodontist creates a pinhole-sized incision at the top of the gum and uses a special tool to separate the connective tissue. The gum is carefully and gently moved to cover the tooth where it has receded. The pinhole heals quickly within days to a couple of weeks. It is a very straightforward and successful procedure with great results.
If gum disease is left untreated it can deteriorate the jaw bone. This results in loose teeth and tooth loss. A missing tooth can also cause your body to absorb bone in that area resulting in secondary tooth loss. Dental implants are a remedy for deteriorating bone. However, if too much bone has deteriorated dental implants are not possible without a bone graft. A bone graft can increase the width and the height of the bone at the implant location allowing for dental implants.
What to Expect When you Visit A Periodontist
You should tell the periodontist about any symptoms you are experiencing. They may ask you about your health conditions, oral hygiene habits, medications, and so forth so they can prescribe the best treatment. The periodontist will conduct an oral exam to check the condition of your teeth and gums. They will measure any pockets formed between your gums and teeth. An assistant may take X-rays to measure bone loss. This will help your periodontist create a specialized periodontal treatment plan. Antibiotics and a thorough cleaning may also help you to control the earlier stages of gum disease.
How to Stop Gum Disease
The best defense against gum disease is to brush and floss twice a day. The next step is to visit your dentist every 6 months for a thorough cleaning. Your dentist may suggest using mouthwash. However, some health conditions like diabetes can make the disease harder to fight or even to prevent in the first place. Your dentist or our periodontist can give personal recommendations in regard to lifestyle changes to boost your oral health.
Schedule an Appointment
Start taking charge of your oral health by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Newhart. We are located in Parkersburg but also serve patients in the surrounding area including Marietta, OH. When you schedule an appointment with our team, we make sure you receive the very best treatment. Schedule an appointment and take control of your oral health today.