When it comes to dental health, most people are familiar with the role of their dentist. But what happens when oral health requires specialized care beyond routine checkups or cleaning? This is where a periodontist comes in. But why would someone need a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease and other conditions that affect the supporting structures of your teeth. While your dentist is equipped to handle primary gum care, a periodontist is trained to provide advanced treatment options for more complex issues.
From gingivitis to advanced periodontitis, a periodontist can help you manage a range of conditions that impact the health and stability of your teeth. And with recent research suggesting that gum disease may be linked to other health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes, the role of the periodontist in maintaining overall health is more important than ever. More details on the correlation between heart disease and oral health can be found on the American Heart Association’s website.
So, whether you are struggling with gum disease or want to ensure that your teeth and gums are in top condition, a periodontist may be an essential part of your dental care team. This article will explore why someone might need a periodontist and what to expect from this specialized dental professional.
What Is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions that affect the supporting structures of your teeth. These structures include gums, jawbone, and other tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth.
Periodontists receive specialized training beyond the four years of dental school to become experts in managing complex dental conditions. They must complete an additional three years of post-graduate education in a periodontics program, including classroom and clinical instruction. This rigorous training provides them with the knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions that affect the gums and other supporting tissues of the teeth. You can learn more about the training periodontists undergo on the American Academy of Periodontology website.
One of the primary conditions that periodontists treat is gum disease, caused by bacteria that build up on teeth and gums over time. Gum disease can lead to inflammation, infection, and eventual tooth loss when left untreated. Periodontists are trained to diagnose and treat all stages of gum disease, from mild gingivitis to severe periodontitis.
In addition to gum disease, periodontists also treat other conditions that affect the supporting structures of the teeth, such as gum recession, bone loss, and gum abscesses. They are also skilled in various surgical procedures, including gum grafts, bone grafts, and dental implant placement.
Periodontists work closely with general dentists and other dental specialists to provide comprehensive patient care. They may also collaborate with medical doctors to manage conditions linked to gum diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Suppose you are experiencing symptoms such as bleeding gums, receding gums, loose teeth, or being diagnosed with gum disease. In that case, your general dentist may refer you to a periodontist for specialized care. A periodontist can work with you to develop a customized treatment plan to address your specific needs and help you maintain optimal dental health. But is there the best periodontist near me?
Why Would Someone Need a Periodontist?
There are several reasons why someone might need to see a periodontist. The most common cause is to receive treatment for gum disease, a bacterial infection that affects the gums and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. However, several other conditions may require the specialized care of a periodontist.
Here are some of the most common reasons why someone might need a periodontist:
- Gum Disease: As mentioned, gum disease is the most common reason someone may need a periodontist. Periodontists can diagnose and treat all stages of gum disease, from mild gingivitis to severe periodontitis.
- Gum Recession: Gum recession occurs when the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing more of the tooth’s root. This can lead to sensitivity and other dental problems. A periodontist can perform gum grafts to help restore the gum tissue and prevent further recession.
- Bone Loss: In some cases, gum disease can lead to bone loss in the jaw, which can cause teeth to become loose or even fall out. A periodontist can perform bone grafts to help regenerate bone tissue and support the teeth.
- Dental Implants: Dental implants are a popular option for replacing missing teeth. A periodontist can perform the surgical placement of dental implants and ensure that the surrounding gum tissue is healthy enough to support the implant.
- Cosmetic Gum Surgery: Periodontists can also perform cosmetic gum surgery to improve the appearance of the gums. This may include procedures such as gum contouring, which can help create a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing gum line.
In addition to these conditions, there are several other reasons someone might need to see a periodontist, including managing oral inflammation, treating gum abscesses, and evaluating oral cancer. Suppose you are experiencing any dental issues that involve the gums or other supporting structures of the teeth. In that case, it may be worthwhile to consult with a periodontist to determine if specialized care is necessary. But what does a periodontist do?
What Procedures Does a Periodontist Perform?
Periodontists perform various procedures to prevent, diagnose, and treat conditions that affect the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums, bone, and connective tissues. These procedures may include:
- Scaling and Root Planing: This deep cleaning procedure removes plaque and tartar buildup from below the gum line and smooths out rough areas on the tooth root to prevent bacteria from accumulating.
- Gum Grafting: A periodontist may perform a gum graft to restore receding gums by taking tissue from another part of the mouth or using a donor tissue to cover exposed tooth roots.
- Bone Grafting: If the jawbone has been damaged by gum disease or tooth loss, a bone graft may be necessary to stimulate the growth of new bone tissue and support dental implants or other restorations.
- Dental Implant Placement: A periodontist may place dental implants, which are titanium posts surgically inserted into the jawbone to replace missing teeth.
- Gum Lifts: Gum lifts or contouring are procedures that reshape the gum line for a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. This may involve removing excess gum tissue or repositioning the gum line to create a more even and balanced smile.
- Pocket Reduction Surgery: For patients with advanced gum disease, pocket reduction surgery may be necessary to remove diseased tissue and reduce the depth of gum pockets around the teeth to prevent further damage.
- Crown Lengthening: In some cases, the teeth may appear short due to excessive gum tissue. Crown lengthening involves removing excess gum tissue to expose more of the tooth, creating a more proportionate and symmetrical appearance.
- Soft Tissue Grafting: Soft tissue grafting is a procedure that may be necessary to repair or regenerate gum tissue that has been lost due to injury or disease.
Overall, periodontists are highly skilled in performing a wide range of procedures to address various conditions that affect the supporting structures of the teeth. If you are experiencing any dental issues that involve the gums, bone, or other supporting tissues, a consultation with a periodontist may be necessary to determine the best treatment options for your needs.
What Is the Difference Between a Dentist and Periodontist?
Dentists and periodontists specialize in maintaining oral health, but the two have some critical differences. Here are some of the main differences between dentists and periodontists:
- Education and Training: Both dentists and periodontists must complete dental school, which typically involves four years of post-graduate education. However, periodontists must complete an additional three years of specialized training in periodontics, which focuses specifically on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease and other conditions that affect the supporting structures of the teeth.
- Scope of Practice: While dentists are trained to provide a wide range of dental services, including preventive care, restorative treatments, and cosmetic procedures, periodontists focus specifically on the health of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth. This includes diagnosing and treating gum disease, bone loss, and other periodontal issues. To understand more about the specialties within dentistry, you might want to compare this with the difference between an endodontist and a periodontist.
- Treatment Options: Because periodontists have specialized training in periodontics, they can offer a broader range of treatment options for gum disease and other periodontal issues. This may include scaling and root planing, gum grafting, bone grafting, and dental implant placement, among other procedures.
- Referral Requirements: While many general dentists can diagnose and treat mild cases of gum disease, more advanced topics may require the specialized care of a periodontist. A dentist may refer a patient to a periodontist for further evaluation and treatment.
Overall, the main difference between a dentist and a periodontist is the specialized training and focus on the health of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth that periodontists have. Suppose you are experiencing issues related to the gums or other supporting tissues of the teeth. In that case, it may be necessary to seek the specialized care of a periodontist to ensure that you receive the most effective treatment for your needs. Now you know the difference between a periodontist vs. dentist.
How Much Does Periodontal Treatment Cost?
Periodontal treatment costs can vary widely depending on various factors, including the severity of the patient’s condition, the specific type of treatment needed, and the location of the dental practice. Here is a detailed breakdown of some of the factors that can affect the cost of periodontal therapy:
- The severity of the condition: The cost of periodontal treatment will partly depend on the severity of the patient’s condition. Mild cases of gum disease may only require basic cleaning and scaling, which can cost several hundred dollars. More severe cases of gum disease may require more extensive treatment, such as gum or bone grafting, which can cost several thousand dollars.
- Type of treatment needed: The specific periodontal treatment will also impact the cost. For example, dental implants, used to replace missing teeth, can cost several thousand dollars per tooth. Gum grafting used to restore receding gums can also be expensive, ranging from $600 to $1,200 per graft.
- Geographic location: The cost of periodontal treatment can also vary depending on the location of the dental practice. For example, dental services tend to be more expensive in urban areas than in rural areas, and costs can also vary between regions of the country.
- Insurance coverage: If a patient has dental insurance that covers periodontal treatment, their out-of-pocket costs may be significantly lower. However, it’s important to note that not all dental insurance plans cover periodontal therapy, and coverage limits can vary widely.
- Payment options: Many dental practices offer payment plans or financing options to help patients manage the cost of treatment. Patients should discuss their payment options with their periodontists to determine what will work best.
The cost of periodontal treatment can be substantial, but the benefits of maintaining good oral health and preventing severe complications make it well worth the investment. Patients should discuss their options with their periodontists and work together to develop a treatment plan that meets their needs and budget. Now you know about the periodontist cost.
As experts in Dental Contract Review, we proudly serve dental professionals. We understand healthcare’s intricacies and offer comprehensive contract reviews to ensure clarity, fairness, and career benefit. To learn more or schedule a review, contact us today.