How Are Periodontists Different From Dentists?

You see your dentist every six months for cavity prevention, dental cleanings and oral health check-ups. But who do you visit when you have gum disease? And who can you turn to when you need bone grafting, soft tissue grafting or implants? 

Dentists have general expertise in oral health. Periodontists, however, are experts in preventing and treating gum diseases. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in periodontal diseases. Periodontal diseases affect the soft tissues and gum in your mouth. When you have gum disease, you might experience more tooth decay and need bone grafting, implants or other special treatments. So when should you see a periodontist instead of a dentist?

4 Reasons You Need to See a Periodontist

If you already visit your dentist regularly and experience gum disease, they may recommend you see a periodontist. However, you can also decide to see a periodontist without a referral. If you’re experiencing any of the following conditions, it’s time to schedule with a periodontist. 

Gum pain

Gum disease has painful symptoms. Commonly, gum disease causes sore gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing, swelling in the gums and more. In addition, gum disease can make it difficult to talk, eat or even smile! If you’re experiencing these symptoms, a periodontist can help.

Bad breath

Bad breath is one of the most common signs of gum disease! If you’re brushing and flossing regularly, not eating strong-smelling foods and not smoking, gum disease may be the cause of your bad breath. A periodontist can quickly diagnose gum disease and offer treatments. 

Gum recession

There are many causes of gum recession, but a periodontist can help you treat it. Gum recession occurs gradually over time. You might notice that your gums appear higher, which exposes more of each tooth. As your gums recede, they become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, brushing, flossing and more. Common causes of gum recession include poor brushing and flossing habits, poor diet and gum disease. 

Loose teeth

Gum disease causes gum recession, tooth decay and gum loss. As your gums recede and the exposed tooth weakens, your teeth might become loose. Your gums might also become infected, which further loosens your surrounding teeth. Loose teeth typically occur in severe cases of gum disease, so as soon as you notice unexplained wiggly teeth, it’s time to contact a periodontist. 

What Services Do Periodontists Provide?

Periodontists provide services that restore your teeth and bones and your smile, confidence and quality of life. Some of these services include:

Bone grafting

Your teeth are bones! And your jawbone, which holds your teeth in place with support from your gums, can also face damage and bone loss from gum disease. Bone grafting is the process of restoring tooth and jawbone decay by taking bone tissue from other areas of the body and placing it in the appropriate area of the mouth. Allografting, xenografting and autografting are various bone grafting options.

Gum grafting

Soft tissue grafting can treat irritated gums, gum disease, gum recession and sensitivity. Soft tissue grafting is the process of putting connective tissue or gingival from other mouth areas into the treatment area.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy is a minimally invasive technique to stop gum disease by targeting lasers at bacteria in the mouth. This treatment is ideal for people with moderate to severe gum disease, and laser therapy can be used on its own or in combination with other grafting treatments.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of gum disease, it’s time to schedule an appointment with Elkhart Periodontics and Implants

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