Tammy Broccas November 19, 2021
Dentist and his assistant carrying out a thorough examination

Have you been referred to a periodontist? Although general dentists perform a wide range of dental procedures, they sometimes refer patients to periodontal specialists specific to dental implants and gum disease.

Seeing a periodontist is also beneficial when requiring tooth removal, bone grafting, and tissue scalping. Following the review of patients’ medical history, these specialists continue with gum examination. They treat individuals in all stages of periodontal disease and install dental implants when necessary.

There is a myriad of dental professionals in Florida, such as https://www.farnhamdentistry.com/pediatric-dentist-in-jacksonville-fl/, caring for the oral health of their patients.

Learn more about the role of periodontists and the reasons to see one.

What is a periodontist?

A periodontist refers to a specialist who prevents, diagnoses, and treats periodontal disease, as well as performs dental implant procedures. These professionals are equipped with training in both areas, which involves three more years of education following dental school. While general dentists perform basic periodontal treatments, they usually refer their patients to periodontists for more complicated cases.

Moreover, these professionals provide a wide range of specialized services, such as root planning, oral inflammation treatment, root surface debridement, certain cosmetic procedures, etc. The initial visit to a periodontist involves a review of the dental and medical history of the patient. These specialists should know whether the patient takes certain medications or receives treatment for a condition that affects periodontal care like diabetes, pregnancy, or heart disease.

After reviewing your medical history, the periodontist will perform an examination of your gums, looking for signs of gum line recession, as well as assess your bite and check whether any teeth are loose. Also, he/she will check your gum’s health by placing a probe in the space between the teeth and gums to measure the space’s depth. An X-ray is required in cases when the condition of the bone under the gum line should be inspected.

Periodontal treatments

General dentists refer patients to periodontists when in need of advanced periodontal treatments. For instance, patients suffering from gum disease are best treated by these professionals. This disease refers to a gum infection, which results in tooth and bone loss over time. It usually manifests with symptoms like mouth sores, bleeding while flossing or brushing, swollen gums, loose teeth, bite changes, gum recession, tooth sensitivity, etc. See this article to learn more about the causes and symptoms of gum disease.

Moreover, periodontal disease progresses through four stages, ranging from mild to advanced. The initial stage is called gingivitis, and it’s manifested with plaque buildup nearby the gum line. Unless gingivitis is treated on time, it can easily develop into the following phase. It’s the only stage that can be reversed, as the bones aren’t affected yet.

The second stadium of periodontal disease is more severe, as it has a bad impact on the fibers supporting tooth roots and the bone. In this stage, the infection spreads into the bone and starts destroying it. Root planning and scaling are used to clean the gums and teeth during this phase.

The third stadium of this disease is characterized by deep periodontal pockets that enable bacteria to attack the bloodstream and bones in a more aggressive manner. In this stage, periodontists clean the affected area with a gum disease treatment.

In contrast, the ultimate stage of periodontal disease occurs in patients whose bones in charge of supporting the teeth are deteriorated by bacteria. The only solutions in this stadium include periodontal surgery or laser therapy. When untreated, the fourth stadium will most likely result in receding gums, gaps between teeth, and other health problems.

Dental implant procedure

Apart from treating gum disease, bone loss and, grafting, periodontists also specialize in dental implant installation. Owing to their knowledge of hard and soft facial tissues, these professionals are qualified to perform the installation of such implants. Patients are usually referred to periodontists when they require multiple implants or have limited bone structure that complicates the installation.

In addition, patients are referred to periodontists if they need to have an implant installed in the upper back jaw close to the sinus. This action requires sinus augmentation, essential for raising the sinus floor and creating enough space for both the implant and the sinus.

Dental implant procedures have a different timeline for different patients, depending on several factors. The main factors to consider are your momentary dental health, the tooth/teeth to be replaced, the number of teeth to be replaced, and any requirements for bone regeneration and extraction. It usually takes between three and nine months for the procedure to complete. If extractions should be performed, the timeline will be prolonged because of the healing period after the extraction.

The majority of patients are curious about the degree of pain and discomfort when getting dental implants. In the course of the surgical part of the procedure, individuals are administered an anesthetic, meaning they experience either slight or no discomfort. It’s vital to follow the postoperative guidelines, referring to medication prescriptions in order to feel no discomfort and eliminate the risk of infection.

In the event of tooth extractions, patients usually need to wait to get an implant. There’s supposed to be enough bone to keep the implants in place. In some cases, fixtures can be installed on the same day of the extraction. However, periodontists usually allow the bone a period to heal, which is between three and six months following the extraction.

There is a minimal possibility for the implant to be rejected by your body. In most cases, such a rejection can occur because of an allergy to the alloy of which the fixture is made. Also, implant failure might happen due to insufficient care in the postoperative period. Unless you practice proper oral hygiene, the fixtures may fall out or not heal properly.

The bottom line

Sometimes general dentists cannot assist you in the treatment of complex gum issues. In such cases, they will refer you to the right periodontist!

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