When Should You See a Periodontist?

When Should You See a Periodontist?

If you experience problems with your gums and/or teeth, you’ll probably pay a visit to the dentist. Your primary dentist will take x-rays and examine your teeth and gums, treating any conditions they can in-office. If they detect a periodontal disease that’s moderate to severe, they’ll refer you to see a specialist called a periodontist.

What is a periodontist?

While your primary dentist treats general issues of the mouth, such as broken teeth and cavities and performs routine cleanings, a periodontist is more specialized and works to prevent, diagnose, and treat periodontal disease. They can also perform procedures to place dental implants and treat a variety of gum issues, such as gum recession or oral inflammation.

You’ll be referred to see a periodontist if you have a moderate or severe case of periodontal disease, such as gingivitis.

Types of periodontal disease

  • Gingivitis: the mildest form of periodontal disease. It presents signs such as red, swollen gums that bleed easily. It is usually fairly easily reversed by a periodontist.
  • Aggressive periodontitis: presents with rapid attachment loss, bone destruction, and familial aggregation
  • Chronic periodontitis: supporting tissues of the teeth are inflamed within; presents with progressive attachment and bone loss, and the gums have pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva.

Necrotizing periodontal diseases

Usually found in people with systemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and immunosuppression, these diseases create lesions caused by an infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone.

People who have developed periodontitis as a manifestation of a systemic disease (such as diabetes) receive treatment in the same way as other patients, though their medical health is also taken into consideration.

If you suspect that you may have a periodontal disease, make a visit to your dentist. They can usually treat mild cases, but if treatment requires a bit more training and experience, they can refer you to a trusted periodontist.