What Is a Periodontist?

Approximately every 6 months you probably visit your dentist for a checkup. You have your teeth cleaned, maybe you get some x-rays, the dentist checks your mouth and, more often than not, you leave with a clean bill of health. But what if your dentist looks at your teeth and recommends you see a periodontist? A what? What does a periodontist even do? And why would you have to see one? Learn a little more about what a periodontist does and how he/she could be an important part of your dental health team.

First off, a periodontist is a dentist, but he/she is a specialized dentist. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease (gum disease) and the placement of dental implants.

Periodontists undergo three additional years of education that focus on the training required to help patients who suffer from gum disease. They learn treatments and techniques for evaluating and dealing with gum disease. Additionally, they learn cosmetic procedures related to periodontal disease.

If you have to visit a periodontist, he/she will review both your medical and dental histories. Your periodontist will want to know about any medications you are taking and of any conditions, you may have such as diabetes, pregnancy or cardiovascular disease.

Your periodontist will do a full check of your teeth and gums. He/she will check if your gums are receding, how your teeth fit, or if you have loose teeth. You might also have x-rays taken to check the health of your mouth below the gum line.

While your dentist may be able to handle the early stages of gum disease, if gum disease progresses, you may be referred to a periodontist for help. His/her advanced education allows them to provide the most up-t0-date and advanced care when it comes to periodontal disease.

You may never have to visit a periodontist if you take care of your teeth with regular brushing (twice each day), daily flossing, and preventative visits to your dentist to keep gum disease at bay. Gum disease can be prevented or reversed when detected early and proper treatment is received.