Periodontics is a dental specialization that focuses on caring for the gum tissue, ligaments, and bone structure that supports the teeth. These supporting structures are essential for good oral health—when they are compromised, your teeth are also at risk. After graduating from dental school, periodontists go on to receive three more years of education and training, giving them in-depth knowledge to treat complex periodontal issues. While there are some simple periodontal procedures that general dentists provide, there are others that can only be performed by a periodontist. Below, we’ll explain what a periodontist does and what sets them apart from other dental professionals.
Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontists are best known for treating gum disease. While other dentists may treat mild forms of gum disease, periodontists are equipped to treat complex and advanced cases. A general dentist may treat a few cases of periodontitis a week, but periodontists see several cases a day.
Not only do periodontists have more knowledge and expertise in treating periodontitis, but we also have more tools, techniques, and procedures available to us. Scaling and root planing is used as a first line of treatment for patients with gum disease, but we also offer state-of-the-art LANAP laser periodontal surgery, which removes damaged tissue and bacteria from periodontal pockets without requiring sutures. Once your gum disease is under control, we will put together a customized periodontal maintenance program to ensure that it doesn’t return.
For general dentists, restorative procedures involve restoring health, appearance, and function to the teeth. Restorative procedures in periodontics are similar, but instead of restoring the teeth, we focus on repairing the gums and jawbone.
If you’ve experienced gum recession, a periodontist can restore the gum tissue you’ve lost with gum grafting or the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique. These procedures correct the “long in the tooth” appearance of gum recession, prevent painful sensitivity, and reduce the risk of tooth decay in the exposed root structure.
For patients with bone loss in the jaw, periodontists perform bone grafting, bone regeneration, and ridge preservation. Restoring bone density in the jaw prevents facial collapse and results in a stronger bite. If you need dental implants, restoring your jawbone gives your implants a stable base of support.
Periodontists also specialize in implant dentistry. Our education in the structures that support the teeth make us the ideal choice for placing dental implants. We can evaluate your jawbone to ensure that you have adequate support for dental implants, determine if supplemental procedures like bone grafting are needed, and help you understand the different dental implant options that are available to you.
Your periodontist will work closely with your dentist, who will fabricate the restoration (crown, bridge, or denture) that attaches to your dental implants. Together, we will create a beautiful smile for you, with an implant-supported restoration that looks, feels, and functions just like your natural teeth.