Each smile is unique, but has two things in common: a set of teeth and the right amount of healthy gum tissue to show them off. Your general dentist is the provider that takes care of your teeth, and provides treatments and regular cleanings.While Periodontists focus one of the nine specialty practice areas recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA). Periodontists focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that affect the gums and other structures that support the teeth. Periodontists make sure that your jaw, gums, and gum tissue are operating at optimal capacity.
Oftentimes, Periodontists treat problematic cases for patients who have severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Periodontists offer a range of treatments such as scaling and root planing (cleaning of the infected surface of the root) or surface debridement (the removal of damaged tissue). They can also treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures. In addition, periodontists are specially trained in the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants.
Who should see a Periodontist?
Some patients’ periodontal needs can be managed by the general dentist. However, as more and more patients are exhibiting signs of periodontal disease, coupled with research that suggests a relationship between periodontal disease and other chronic diseases of aging, periodontal treatment may necessitate a greater understanding and increased level of expertise by a trained specialist. Patients who present with moderate or severe levels of periodontal disease, or patients with more complex cases, will be best managed by a partnership between the dentist and periodontist.
What to Expect
During the initial visit, the Periodontist will review the complete dental and medical history of the patient. A review of the medications and treatments taken by the patients is completed. Conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and pregnancy can change the type of treatment offered. The Periodontist will then check for any loose teeth, how the teeth fit together while biting, and to see if there is any gum line recession. The Periodontist will take a Probe, a small measuring instrument, to determine the depth of the spaces between the gums and teeth, know as periodontal pockets. The periodontal pockets allow the periodontist to assess the health of the gums. X-rays may also be taken to observe the health of the bone below the gum line.
For more questions, or to schedule an appointment, please call Georgetown Smile at (202) 333-0003.