What Does a Periodontist Do and When Should You See One?

What Does a Periodontist Do and When Should You See One?

Nov 01, 2020

Do you have bleeding or swollen gums? If so, then there is a high probability that you have periodontitis or gum disease. Gum disease is a prevalent condition and is among the leading causes of tooth loss. Close to half of the people above 30 years old in America struggle with gum disease.

When gum disease is in its infancy, the effects can be reversed if you seek periodontal treatment in Westwood, MA, from a board-certified periodontist. But if you choose to be cavalier about it, you run the risk of developing more severe health conditions.

However, we have made major leaps and bounds in dentistry and can now solve these problems easily. You no longer have to lose your teeth. But before we see what treatment options are available, let’s first understand who a periodontist is and what they do.

Who Is a Periodontist?

Gums and tooth-supporting tissue are known in dental terminology as the periodontium. The branch of dentistry that deals with the periodontium is known as periodontics, and the professional who deals with the gums and tooth-supporting tissue is known as a periodontist.

Therefore, when you visit our board-certified periodontist, expect our specialist to deal with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that affect the periodontium. Additionally, our Board-Certified Periodontist can also treat oral inflammations and place dental implants when the need arises.

Understanding Periodontal Disease

One of the glaring signs that people tend to overlook is bleeding gums. This represents the early stages of the disease, characterized by inflammation of the gums. The initial stage of periodontitis is known as gingivitis. Most of the time, gingivitis is brought about by poor oral hygiene.

Typically, when you eat food, the harmful bacteria present in the mouth will start digesting the food particles. Then, a clear sticky substance called plaque is formed on your teeth’s surface. If you do not remove the plaque by brushing your teeth using fluoridated toothpaste, plaque mineralizes, forming a hard brown substance known as tartar.

If this stage progresses, then it develops into periodontitis. This is where plaque starts to form under the gums, and the underlying bone starts losing its integrity, eventually causing tooth loss.

What Are the Signs That You Need to See a Periodontist?

The symptoms of gingivitis are:

  • Bad breath
  • Swollen gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Red or discolored gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

What Are Some of the Risk Factors?

Here are some of the risk factors associated with gum disease:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Genetics
  • Medication that causes dry mouth
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal changes in women

How Is Periodontitis Diagnosed?

When you visit Board Certified Periodontist near you, expect our specialist to:

  • Have a look at your medical history to see if there can be underlying issues that might have caused the disease
  • Examine your mouth for the classic signs of gum disease, which are tartar and bleeding gums
  • Measure the groove between your gums to see whether your gums are receding
  • Take X-rays to check the state of your jawbone and see whether there is any bone loss

At the end of the examination, our dentist near you will tell you the disease’s stage and grade.

What Will Our Board-Certified Periodontist Do When You Have Periodontitis?

The goal of periodontal treatment is to remove the tartar through scaling and root planing to prevent bone and tooth loss. If you adopt proper oral habits, you stand a better chance of keeping the disease at bay.

Our Westwood dentist may recommend two types of treatments:

Non-Surgical Treatments

If gum disease is still in the initial stages, then our Board-Certified Periodontist may perform any of the following procedures:

  • Scaling. This involves cleaning your teeth to remove bacteria and tartar from beneath the gums and teeth.
  • Planing. In this procedure, our Westwood dentist will smooth the root surfaces to discourage the buildup of tartar.
  • Antibiotics. They are prescribed to control bacterial infection.

Surgical Treatments

If you have advanced periodontitis, then you have to undergo surgery. Some of the procedures that you can expect are:

  • Soft tissue grafts to reinforce the receding gum tissues
  • Flap surgery to expose the roots to facilitate proper scaling and root planing
  • Bone grafting to reinforce the bone if there is any bone loss
  • Guided tissue regeneration to aid proper healing of the gums

Gum disease is a subtle disease, and if you are not aware of the early signs, you might end up losing your teeth. Schedule an appointment with our Board-Certified Periodontist near you at Westwood Dental Group if you need gum disease treatment.

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