A periodontist is essentially a dentist that specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of issues related to the gums. Treatment of gum disease and surgical fitting of dental implants is the most common procedures conducted. A periodontist requires at least 3 additional years of education after dental school, but they are constantly continuing their path of education as technological advances occur and techniques improve.
How a Periodontist Carries Out an Examination
If gingivitis is not treated, it can escalate to gum disease. When a dentist notices that the gingivitis is advancing to advanced periodontitis despite their efforts, they will generally recommend their patient go see a specialist like a periodontist. A regular dentist can treat several of the minor gum problems using techniques such as root planing and scaling; a periodontist is an expert that can help more.
For first appointments, a periodontist will review the patient’s medical history and then conduct a thorough examination of the gum lines. They will look for periodontal pockets that have formed, if gum recession is occurring, and if there are any loose teeth. X-rays can also help to determine if there are health issues below the gum line.
How a Periodontist Treats Gum Disease
Deep cleanings with a focus on scaling and root planing are common first steps for treatment of gum disease. If the gum disease is more advanced, surgical solutions may need to be discussed to fold back the gum tissue and remove the underlying bacteria. If teeth are missing and need to be replaced, the periodontist will also be responsible for the surgical fitting of dental implants.
What Makes a Good Periodontist?
It is important to be someone that likes a challenge since every case will be different. While most people can make themselves learn the technical side, not everyone is made out for the soft skills side of the job. Being empathetic and caring for patients is crucial!