Do You Need a Gum Specialist?

Your dentist can help you with most issues related to dental care from fillings and cleanings to crowns, root canals, whitening, night guards and beyond. Broadly, your dentist offers care to your teeth. 

The dentist may refer you to a periodontist when you have signs of gum and bone disease called periodontitis.When you have oral inflammation, a periodontist brings specialized care for all things around your teeth, such as the bones, connective tissues and gum areas.

A periodontist has extra years of training and can be the right specialist for deep (and safe) cleaning of your gums, extraction of teeth, jaw bone surgery as well as artificial teeth placement (otherwise known as dental implants) and other cosmetic procedures, like aesthetic crown lengthening. For the most part, their work routinely revolves around diagnosing and treating gum disease. Symptoms they will look for include: mouth sores, loose teeth, gums that are loose, red, sensitive and/or swollen; and gums that bleed easily with routine brushing or flossing. Frustratingly for many of us, gum disease is often silent. So it isn’t apparent until you become sensitive to hot and cold beverages, or have major plaque buildup. 

Periodontal issues can worsen other health problems such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and prostate health for men. When your gums recess to the point that the roots of your teeth are beginning to show or your periodontal disease is worsening, this is a prime reason to get to the specialist. Your options likely include restoration of these areas.

Do continue to consult with both your dentist and the periodontist because they care for different problems and issues. Dentists and periodontists usually have established relationships of helping the same patients, and are happy to come up with a plan that keeps you in the best possible comfort.

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