Should I See a Periodontist?

Frustrated bearded man touching cheek and wincing in pain feeling terrible tooth ache

Have you noticed a recent change in your bite when talking, chewing, or brushing? Do your teeth feel a bit loose? Are your gums red, swollen, or bleeding? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to see a periodontist.

Table of Contents

What Do Periodontists Do?

Periodontists are dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gum disease, a condition that affects almost half of all adults over the age of 30. Our dentists have completed three additional years of training beyond standard dental school and are experts in performing procedures that restore the look, feel, and function of your gums. One of our patients’ most common complaints is gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums that, if not treated promptly, can become acute. Besides being gum specialists, we offer an array of treatments to heal damage to the root surfaces of the tooth. We also are experts in the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants to replace portions of a missing tooth.

What The Difference Between a Dentist and a Periodontist?

While your family dentist can sometimes treat a minor gum issue, they often refer their patients to a periodontist when the problem has become severe. Bleeding or discomfort around the area of the gums is a warning sign, as are loose teeth, which can be a sign of thinning bone. A change in your bite pattern also is an indication that there may be a problem that needs to be addressed before it becomes long-term. Although our gums recede as we age, signs of recession should not be noticeable, and you should see a periodontist if you do.

When Should I See a Periodontist Versus a Dentist?

You should see a dentist for routine dental check-ups and preventive care, such as cleanings, fillings, and general oral health maintenance. Dentists are trained to provide a wide range of dental services, and they can address common dental issues like cavities, gum disease in its early stages (gingivitis), and primary teeth straightening.

On the other hand, you should consider seeing a periodontist when you have advanced gum disease (periodontitis), complex gum issues, or when your general dentist recommends a referral. Periodontists specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. They perform specialized procedures like scaling and root planing, gum grafts, and dental implant placements. A periodontist’s expertise can be crucial for oral health if you have severe gum problems or bone loss or need specialized gum treatments. It’s common for both dentists and periodontists to work together to provide comprehensive dental care when needed.

Periodontist FAQs

A periodontist specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth. They commonly treat conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis (gum diseases), perform scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from deep gum pockets, administer gum surgeries like grafts and flap procedures to repair gum tissue and bone, and place dental implants for tooth replacement. Periodontists are skilled in managing complex gum issues and often work closely with general dentists to provide comprehensive oral care and maintain optimal gum and tooth health.

A periodontist treats a range of symptoms related to gum and periodontal diseases, including symptoms like swollen or bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, gum recession (gums pulling away from teeth), loose teeth, tooth sensitivity, and the formation of deep gum pockets. These symptoms are indicative of conditions like gingivitis and periodontitis, which can lead to gum and bone damage if left untreated. A periodontist can diagnose the underlying issues, provide treatments to alleviate symptoms and work to prevent the progression of gum diseases.