About Our Practice
Expert gum disease and dental implant treatment
As a periodontal practice, we are specialists at treating anything to do with the gum and bone tissue surrounding your teeth. Periodontists are also experts in dental implant treatment. Our periodontal services include gum disease treatment, replacement of lost bone, gum grafting for receding gums and treatment for gummy smiles.
Dr. Nathan Hodges is a Rockwall native. It was his goal to return home after college to take care of his friends and family in the town he grew up in. He opened his Rockwall practice in 2005. He gives exceptional dental implant and gum treatment at his two office locations to the residents of Rockwall, Paris, and the surrounding areas.
Dr. Kimberly Sheppard joined our practice in August of 2019.
Highly skilled doctors and staff
Dr. Hodges is a highly trained and award-winning periodontist who has been practicing since 2003. He has been recognized by D Magazine as one of the “Best Dentists in Dallas” for 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2014, and as a “Texas Super Dentist” in Texas Monthly magazine for 2004 and 2006 – 2014.
Dr. Hodges teaches periodontal techniques at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. He also trains colleagues on advanced periodontal procedures at workshops and seminars across the country.
Dr. Hodges and Dr. Sheppard keep up with the latest technological advances in periodontics to ensure your treatment is minimally invasive and will achieve the best possible results.
Our practice philosophy
Our practice philosophy has always been guided by the “golden rule,” treating others as you would want to be treated. Our commitment to our patients is to provide the best care possible, utilizing the most advanced technologies in a caring environment.
We make every effort to create an environment that is friendly yet professional and puts you at ease.
We practice with the goal of being as conservative as possible in treatment while ensuring our patients obtain an aesthetic, healthy and stable oral condition.
We use advanced technology to help us achieve optimal results. It also allows us to use minimally invasive procedures which cause far less trauma and post-operative discomfort. These procedures also have faster healing times.
Precise digital imaging
Our 3D cone beam CT scanner takes a three-dimensional image of your teeth and jaw structure. Using these images we precisely plan the optimal placement of dental implants ahead of time, making their placement quick, accurate and minimally invasive.
Our digital X-ray system produces instant, high-resolution images that are superior to traditional X-ray images, and emit only a fraction of the radiation used by standard X-ray machines.
We use ultrasonic instruments for precise and minimally invasive procedures. Our ultrasonic scalers thoroughly remove accumulated calculus and plaque during our deep cleanings, without scratching or otherwise affecting the tooth surface.
Our ultrasonic surgical device precisely cuts bone but does not affect surrounding gum tissue.
The Perioscope is a revolutionary device that allows us to effectively treat most cases of moderate to severe gum disease without surgery. The Perioscope is a tiny video camera we insert into the space between the gum and the tooth.
With this camera, we can see deeply buried deposits of plaque and calculus. We can then remove these buried deposits without the need for surgery, using the Periscope to guide us and ensure complete removal.
Friendly, caring service
Our patients remark that our doctors and staff are very friendly and easy to talk to. We are always interested in what you have to say and will take the time to listen and understand your concerns. We will also take the time to explain everything to you so you understand what is happening.
We make your treatment comfortable
Our advanced technology and minimally invasive procedures make your treatment comfortable and efficient.
We provide blankets and pillows for your physical comfort in the treatment room. We use a topical anesthetic first on all injections and then administer the anesthetic very gently.
We have sedation options for patients with heightened anxiety.
Dr. Hodges is a volunteer practitioner for several non-profit organizations that provide free dental services to the underprivileged. Dr. Hodges has been active in charity dental work since he was in dental school. He has continued and expanded his charitable activities since he started in practice.
Dr. Hodges will help with emergency dental care for local residents referred to by Helping Hands, a charity that provides food, medical services, and shelter to the needy. They are also part of R.A.W. (Rebuilding America’s Warriors), a non-profit foundation for wounded and disfigured servicemen.
Dr. Hodges performs charity dental services for the less fortunate in the East Dallas area who would not otherwise have access to adequate dental care. He is part of a team of practitioners who participate at a special event known as “Dentistry with a Heart.” He has also been a volunteer practitioner on charity dental mission teams since 2000. On these teams, he has serviced the underprivileged in the local community and in remote areas of Mexico and Guatemala.
How is a periodontist different from a general dentist?
A periodontist is a dentist who is a specialist in gum disease.
This includes diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of periodontal diseases. These diseases are the infections of the various structures surrounding your teeth: the gums, the periodontal ligaments, as well as the alveolar bone which holds your teeth.
Periodontists treat more than just your teeth. Their focus is on the gums, connective tissues, and bones that keep them in place. For this reason, they must complete extensive education beyond their dental degree. This includes 3-7 years of professional training in a residency program accredited by the ADA.
When the training is complete, the periodontist can have their skills and techniques in all aspects of periodontal treatments tested through written and oral examinations in order to earn a national board certification from the American Board of Periodontology.
A periodontist is licensed both as a dentist and as a periodontist. With this license, they can work in a variety of places: dental schools, hospitals, state and international agencies, or as a private practice. Periodontists can also pursue research opportunities in order to test new periodontal therapy methods and to study the relationship between periodontal diseases and other systemic diseases.
Why does someone go to a periodontist?
Dental health issues such as gum inflammation, bleeding gums, receding gumlines or loose teeth would warrant a visit to the periodontist. Periodontists differ from general dentists due to their specialization in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of periodontal diseases. A periodontist’s main focus are the bones, connective tissues, and the gums.
Periodontists complete comprehensive training focused on all of these things as well as the connection between oral health and overall health. A periodontist receives extensive training that spans beyond what they learned in dental school. After their formal education, a periodontist must train in a residency program, accredited by the American Dental Association, for 2–3 years.
After completing the training program, periodontists may earn their national board certification by the American Board of Periodontology (ABP). This certification consists of passing written and oral examinations covering all phases of periodontal disease and its treatments. A periodontist must be licensed both as a dentist and a periodontist.
Periodontists are able to work in many different fields, such as hospitals, dental schools, national and international agencies, the business sector, and the state sector. Periodontists may focus on research opportunities and test out emerging therapies and study more about the field.
What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures surrounding the teeth. These are most commonly the gums, but can also include the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. Left untreated, these infections can result in the loss of teeth and bone tissue. Periodontists need to be skilled in many types of periodontal procedures in order to treat different stages of periodontal disease.
When gum disease is in its early stages, known as gingivitis, a general dentist can typically treat the problem with a deep cleaning (also called planing and scaling). Left untreated, the infection can spread deeper, resulting in larger gum pockets and deeper infections that require the skills of a periodontist to address.
Non-Invasive Gum Disease Treatment
A periodontist like Dr. Hodges will do his best to treat gum disease through non-invasive treatments, such as Perioscope, which allows him to locate deposits of calculus hidden deep in gum pockets without the need for surgery.
After a typical treatment, provided the patient maintains proper homecare, brushing and flossing regularly, the gums will heal, and the patient will have a healthy smile again.
Periodontitis, if left untreated for too long, can lead to the loss of bone and connective tissue. This kind of bone loss can also happen due to missing teeth. Dr. Hodges can use minimally-invasive surgical techniques (such as using an ultrasonic Piezoelectric surgical device) to regenerate this missing tissue. Bone regeneration can be done through the use of bone grafts, dissolvable membranes and growth proteins which spear up the healing process.
Periodontists can improve the esthetics of your smile in a number of ways. This can include ridge preservation and augmentation. When a tooth has been extracted, the ridge of bone that previously supported it may begin to sink, making it look strange under a dental bridge. A periodontist like Dr. Hodges or Dr. Sheppard can use a bone graft to restore this to its proper shape, and even help prepare it for a dental implant.
Crown lengthening and gum recontouring are additional cosmetic procedures a periodontist can provide. The appearance of the gumline can be improved by exposing more of the crown of the tooth (making the tooth look longer and eliminating “gummy” smiles) or addressing an uneven gumline.
Placement and Restoration of Dental Implants
For those who have lost one or more tooth from tooth decay, a fracture or gum disease, a periodontist can place a dental implant. Since the material in the dental implants can bond with the bone in your mouth, they make for excellent foundations for a permanent or removable replacement for your original teeth, whether it be a single implant with a crown, to support a bridge or for implant-retained dentures.
These are just a few of the things a periodontist can do for you. Be sure to check out our services page to read more about how Dr. Hodges and Dr. Sheppard can help you.