Why Does Someone Go to A Periodontist? Part One

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.

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.

Stay tuned for the second part of our two-part blog series about what periodontists are trained to do!

If you have concerns about the health of your gums, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hodges today!