Two of the most common questions we get when being introduced to new people are “what does a periodontist do?” closely followed by “what is periodontics in dentistry?”.
So, we thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post and answer those questions, hopefully, once and for all!
What does periodontist mean?
Simply put, a periodontist is a dentist with advanced training. They are specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. Additionally, they are experts in the placement of dental implants as well as the treatment of oral inflammation, and other advanced dental care.
What do periodontists treat?
Periodontists are trained to diagnose and treat issues with several parts of your mouth. These three areas are part of the body’s system for keeping your teeth healthy and in place:
- Gums: Periodontists may be best known for their expertise in treating gum disease. Your gums, which are part of the soft tissue lining of your mouth, should surround your teeth and provide a seal around them. This helps protect the bone underneath.
- Jawbone: The thickened ridge on the jawbone contains the sockets that hold your teeth. This is known as the alveolar process or alveolar bone. The bone contains blood vessels, nerves, and lymph vessels.
- Cementum: This is the tissue that connects your teeth and gums. It protects the roots of your teeth by connecting them to the alveolar bone.
What is Gum Disease?
When the soft tissue around your gums becomes infected, this is referred to as periodontal (gum) disease. Infection occurs when a film of bacteria (plaque) builds up on the tooth surface.
What causes periodontal disease?
Gum disease is obviously linked to your oral hygiene. For example, poor brushing or flossing habits. Make sure you visit your general dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings. Good oral hygiene prevents the buildup of harmful bacteria that causes (or worsens) gum disease.
Other causes of gum disease can include:
- Medications that reduce the flow of saliva
- Changes in hormones experienced by girls and women
What Does Periodontal Disease Look Like?
The most noticeable symptom of gum disease is bleeding gums. Other signs of a problem include persistent bad breath, sensitive or loose teeth, gum recession, and swollen gums. Treatment is possible at any stage of periodontal disease but, as is the case with any other medical issue, it’s always best to address gum problems in their early stages.
The first stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis. At this stage, the bacteria and plaque buildup causes inflammation of the gums. If left untreated at this stage, the inflammation can cause pockets to form around your teeth. These deep periodontal pockets grant the bacteria access to the roots of your teeth and even the jawbone.
Advanced gum disease (also known as periodontitis) is characterized by more severe bad breath, painful chewing, and swollen gums that ooze pus. At this stage, the bacteria has grown so severe it can result in bone loss. So don’t wait! If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, schedule a consultation today!
During your consultation, your periodontist will take X-rays to check the health of your jawbone.
What are Gum Disease Treatment Options?
The treatment that your periodontist will provide depends on how far your gum disease has progressed. It could be as simple as a thorough cleaning and instructions on keeping your mouth clean to keep the condition from worsening. In more extreme cases, surgery may be required, and periodontists are trained in the necessary procedures. These include:
- Pocket Reduction: Commonly referred to as “gum surgery,” the periodontist folds back your gums and removes bacteria from the “periodontal pocket” that has formed around your tooth due to receding gums. This can prevent further damage to gums and bone.
- Regeneration: After cleaning the pocket, the periodontist inserts material (bone grafts, membranes, or proteins to stimulate tissue growth) in it. This should cause gum tissue to regenerate and create a tight seal around the teeth.
- Scaling and root planing: Also known as a “deep-cleaning,” this nonsurgical procedure is done under local anesthesia. Plaque and tartar are scraped away both above and below the gumline. Planing smooths out rough spots on the tooth root. This helps remove bacteria and also provides a good surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth.
- Soft Tissue Graft: Tissue taken from another location in the mouth is attached to your gums. This gum graft covers exposed roots, improving the appearance of your mouth and protecting against infection.
In extreme cases, if gum infection has led to bone damage, your periodontist may also need to perform surgery on your jawbone.
Do I Need a Periodontist?
If your gums bleed when you brush and floss, you should see a periodontist. If you are experiencing any of the more serious symptoms we’ve discussed—loose or sensitive teeth, painful chewing, etc.—you should make it a priority to see a periodontist soon. No matter what your situation may be, modern dentistry has tools that can help you overcome gum issues and greatly improve your oral health.
If left untreated, periodontal disease will continue to advance. This puts you at risk of tooth loss, expensive periodontal surgery, and can even impact your overall health! According to the American Academy of Periodontology, periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease and increased risk of stroke.
Why MD Periodontics should be your Los Angeles periodontists
Two of the most trusted and respected periodontist and holistic dentists in Beverly Hills are the board-certified husband and wife team of Dr. Abdy Moshrefi and Dr. Nazanin Daneshmand.
At our beautiful offices, MD Periodontics offers patients the best periodontic treatment that Los Angeles has to offer. Our holistic approach to dentistry ensures that the treatment you receive will utilize the least toxic materials available, the most advanced technology, and amenities including aromatherapy to reduce discomfort and stress during procedures. You’ll experience an atmosphere you would never expect to find at a dental office and results that you will love.
To schedule a consultation, click here or call us at (855) 245-1100. Your smile will thank you!
We are conveniently located to patients throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area. Our board-certified periodontists and implant dentistry experts are available at locations in or near Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. We are conveniently located near West Los Angeles, Culver City, West Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles, Marina del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Sherman Oaks, and Encino.
At MD Periodontics we take our patients’ safety very seriously. That’s why our facility’s Covid-19 patient safety procedures far exceed all CDC recommendations.