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What is a Periodontist?

A periodontist view of the stages of Periodental DiseaseA “Periodontist”? The word “periodontal” literally means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease also known as “gum disease” or pyorrhea, is a chronic bacterial (plaque) infection that damages the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Plaque left long enough can become calcified (called calculus or tartar). Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. More importantly, research links periodontal infection to more serious problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and pre-term, low-birth-weight babies. As ongoing research continues to define how periodontal disease is linked to these and other health problems, good oral health is essential. As you can see, good periodontal care is a key component of a healthy body!

Many factors such as oral hygiene habits, genetics, stress, general health conditions, medications and tobacco use may have contributed to your disease and can influence treatment effectiveness and disease recurrence. Periodontists are dental professionals who specialize in treating periodontal disease. Your periodontist has recommended a tailored treatment plan to repair the damage, restore health and improve the function and/or esthetics of your smile.

The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the form of a sticky, colorless plaque that constantly forms on your teeth. Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming “pockets” around the teeth. Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss and eventual tooth loss.

Periodontist (Gum Specialist)

Dentists who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of periodontal disease and replacement of teeth by the use of implants, are Periodontists. In addition to four years of dental school, your periodontist has had further training and an advanced degree in this specialty. The periodontist will provide you with different treatment options that range from deep cleaning of teeth and gums (scaling and root planing) to surgical removal of infection to surgical procedures that may restore soft tissue and bone damaged by periodontal disease. Also, if a tooth (or teeth) is lost, a periodontist can replace it with implants.

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