What is the difference between a dentist and a periodontist?

Our periodontist has undergone the same general training at dental school as any other dentist, and after that, they chose to proceed with two additional years of education in the field of periodontics. A periodontist completes postgraduate training to learn about the supporting structures of teeth and diseases that affect these structures, especially gum disease. Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

I have heard that gum disease can cause health problems. Is this true?

Unfortunately, what you've heard is correct. Research indicates that gum disease is linked to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. The connection between gum and heart disease is a very hot topic in the field of periodontics right now. Several research studies indicate that heart disease and gum disease may be linked, and researchers suspect that inflammation may be behind this relationship. If you are at risk for heart disease, it is a good idea to mention this to your periodontist, since gum disease may increase this risk. Get additional information on the connection between heart disease and gum disease, as well as the connection between gum disease and other systemic conditions during your next visit.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

Though you may think that periodontal problems are obvious, in actuality, early stages of gum disease often go undetected, just like high blood pressure. Patients should be vigilant about home hygiene routines and watch for early warning signs, such as:

  • Gums that are swollen or tender to the touch
  • Loose teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Dentures that no longer fit, or a changes in the way teeth fit together

If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to make an appointment to see us as soon as possible.

What else does a periodontist do besides diagnose and treat gum disease?

Like most periodontists, ours spends much of his time caring for patients with gum disease, but there are several related treatments involved in his specialty. When natural teeth are missing, he places dental implants in their stead. He also performs gum grafting and bone regeneration procedures to replace lost tissue, and shapes soft tissue for a more appealing smile or to provide more tooth structure for crown placement. All the treatments he performs help lay the foundation for excellent oral health and smile restoration. As a specialist, he works closely with general dentists for a comprehensive treatment plan that serves you best.

Am I a candidate for dental implants?

Any person who is missing a tooth or multiple teeth can be evaluated for dental implants. This tooth-replacement option is stable, secure, and can be tailored to fit a wide variety of needs, from a single-tooth implant to a full upper or lower denture anchored by implants.

Keep in mind there are a few prerequisites for implant placement, which we will discuss with you in more detail at your consultation appointment. Patients who have gum disease or insufficient bone density will need to undergo additional treatment before receiving dental implants. No matter what your situation, we can give you clear direction regarding your options. So schedule your dental implant appointment today.