A periodontist has completed the regular training to become a dentist, and in addition, has completed an additional three years of specialty training in the diagnosing and prevention of g
um disease. Also a great deal of time is spent in learning how to treat gum disease and, place dental implants, and perform cosmetic periodontal work.
The mildest form of gum disease is gingivitis, which is fairly painless, but it can cause redness around the gums, and they tend to bleed easily. Gingivitis is a condition that can be reversed with appropriate dental treatment and good care at home.
Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of this condition where plaque spreads below the gum line. Plaque is full of bacteria, and the toxins that it produces irritate the gums and they be come inflamed, which in turn makes the body turn on itself and the tissues and the bone that supports the teeth are destroyed over time. The infection can spread to the sockets of the teeth to the point where they can become infected and they need to be removed.
The Periodontist is able to examine each case on its own merits and can offer a wide range of treatment, such as scaling and root planting. This involves cleaning of the infected surface of the tooth and is replanted. There is a wide range of surgical procedures that can save the teeth as the periodontal disease progresses. Periodontists are trained in the placement and repair of dental implants as well.
People who are having gum disease that has progressed beyond what the regular dentist can handle are usually referred to the periodontist. There are more and more people that have gum conditions that are serious enough for the referral to be made. We live in a busy world, and many people just do not take the time to take care of their teeth like they should. We also have a population that is living longer that in previous years, and periodontal disease seems more symptomatic in the more advanced ages.
Sometimes the only way to to detect serious gum disease is to have an exam by a periodontist, as the disease can be very subtle. There may be no pain or bleeding, just red and swollen gums, which the periodontist can give an accurate diagnosis as to the seriousness of the disease.