What is a Periodontist?
A Periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and surgical and non-surgical treatment of diseases and conditions of the periodontium. Periodontists are experts in the management of patients with periodontal diseases including all forms of gingivitis, periodontitis and gingival recession (gum recession).
Extraction of teeth with bone grafting of the area to regenerate or "build back" the bone is also a treatment provided by a periodontist like Dr. Matthews and Dr. Hughes. Any tooth that is diseased, broken or unreparable is routinely removed and the bone repaired.
A periodontist specializes in the placement of dental implants. Dr. Matthews and Dr. Hughes inserts implants to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or to support removable appliances that partially or completely replace teeth. The periodontist works closely with the patient's general dentist and/or other dental specialists to plan and complete the dental care of patients. Implants can be placed where someone has previously lost a single or multiple teeth or can be placed immediately at the time of dental extraction.
Periodontics is one of the nine American Dental Association recognized specialties of dentistry. Periodontists complete 3 years of additional formal training beyond dental school in an accredited residency training program.
The American Academy of Periodontology is the recognized governing academy for periodontics in the USA.
Periodontists may also earn Board Certification by the American Board of Periodontology after completion of an American Dental Association accredited residency training program in Periodontics. Board certified periodontists are awarded the title "Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology".
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the soft tissues of the mouth and the underlying jawbone which supports the teeth. A dentist must first graduate from an accredited dental school before undertaking an additional three years of study within a periodontology residency training program, in order to qualify as a periodontist.
The primary focus of this residency training is on both surgical and non surgical management of periodontal disease and the placement of dental implants.
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 the 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.
Treatments Performed by a Periodontist
The periodontist is able to perform a wide range of treatments to halt the progression of gum disease, replace missing teeth and make the appearance of the smile more aesthetically pleasing.
Here are some of the treatments commonly performed by the periodontist:
Implant placement – When a tooth or several teeth are missing, the periodontist is able to create a natural-looking replacement by anchoring a prosthetic tooth to the jawbone.
Osteoplasty (hard tissue recontouring) – Once periodontitis has been treated, the periodontist can recontour the hard tissue to make the smile both natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing.
Gingivoplasty (soft tissue recontouring) – As gums recede due to periodontitis, the teeth may appear longer; causing a “toothy" smile. The periodontist can remove tissues or straighten the gum line to make the teeth look more even.
Bone grafting – Dental implants can only be positioned if there is sufficient bone to attach the prosthetic tooth to. If bone loss has occurred, bone grafting is an excellent way to add or “grow” bone so that an implant may be properly secured.
Deep pocket cleanings – As gingivitis and periodontitis progress, it becomes more difficult to cleanse the pockets between the soft tissues and the teeth. The periodontist can scale and root plane the teeth (sometimes under local anesthetic) to remove debris and infection-causing bacteria.
Crown lengthening – In order to expose more of the natural tooth, the periodontist can remove some of the surrounding gingival tissue.
The periodontist is a highly skilled dental health professional who is able to diagnose and treat many commonly occurring soft tissue and bone problems in the oral cavity.
Be sure to ask your periodontist if you have any questions or concerns.