Periodontics Frequently Asked Questions
What is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a specialist who helps prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect the gums and bones of your mouth. They can also help you maintain healthy gums, provide gum health education, and help decide the placement of dental implants.
Periodontists are experts in treating gum diseases and the symptoms they cause, including:
- gingivitis and periodontitis: an inflammation and bleeding of your gum tissue, usually caused by bacteria and improper oral hygiene
- periodontal pockets: the spaces under your gumline that can be affected by bacteria, causing infection and even tooth loss
- receding gums: shrinking of your gumline caused by various factors, including improper dental hygiene, diabetes, and more
You can contact your periodontist for a complete list of the conditions they treat.
Periodontists perform various procedures to help preserve and restore the health of your gums, including:
Imaging and tests
- oral exams and cleaning: an examination of your dental health, including routine plaque and tartar removal
- dental X-rays: images used to show the health and diseases in your gums and mouth
- antibiotics: medications used to treat gum and tooth infections
- scaling and planing: a procedure that involves scraping away dental plaque
- dental implants: a procedure that involves replacing a broken or dead tooth with a titanium screw, known as an artificial root, and a dental crown
- laser gum surgery: the use of a laser to cut diseased tissue, kill bacteria, and sterilize your gumline
- periodontal surgery: the treatment of infected pockets that form beneath your gumline
- dental bone graft: the use of synthetic bone to encourage new bone growth where it’s been lost as a result of gum disease
- gum grafts: a procedure that uses existing gum tissue, usually from the roof of your mouth, to repair receding gums
You can contact your periodontist for a complete list of the procedures they perform.
For most gum and tooth problems, you’ll go to your general dentist. Your general dentist may refer you to a periodontist if you have gum disease that requires more advanced treatment or if you’re at risk for tooth loss.
You should schedule an appointment with a periodontist if you have or are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- bleeding gums
- gum inflammation
- gums that are receding noticeably
- pain around your gums when you brush your teeth