For those suffering from severe gum disease or recent tooth extraction, the right treatment plan can make a world of difference. The most important part is finding the right periodontist. So what exactly is a periodontist? Why would I need to see one? What’s the difference between a dentist and a periodontist? How do I find a periodontist near me? These are all questions many patients have when considering dental implants or exploring treatment options related to gum disease.
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum disease, bone loss in the jaw, and dental implants. Periodontists leverage a variety of effective treatment methods and technology to treat moderate to severe cases of periodontitis. While dentists are well equipped to treat teeth, gums, and the mouth, periodontists generally only treat issues related to the gums and jawbone. Minor gum disease is often treated by a dentist, but when the issue is more severe or the patient has underlying conditions or complications, he or she may be referred to a periodontist.
How To Find An Experienced Periodontist
Patients want to be sure they’re getting the best possible care, so finding the right periodontist is an important step. Finding the names of local periodontist practices is easy, but ensuring the provider has the necessary experience to treat your condition as effectively as possible may require a bit of research. If you’re in search of “the best periodontist near me”, below are some tips to help you find the most experienced provider:
1. Ask Your Dentist
In many cases, you can see a periodontist without a referral; however, asking your dentist for a recommendation is usually the best way to find an experienced provider. A dentist will act as the first line of defense when it comes to treating minor gum disease, extracting teeth, or diagnosing jawbone issues. If the problem is moderate to severe, he or she will likely recommend that you visit a periodontist.
The good news is your dentist has likely established relationships with good, local periodontists, so they should be able to recommend one with experience. If your dentist is willing to trust a particular periodontist with the care of his or her own patients, then there is a good chance you’ll be in good hands.
2. Ask Your Friends And Family
If you have friends, family, or neighbors who have needed to see a periodontist in the past, ask them about their experience. A patient’s point of view is often just as important as a dentist’s recommendation. Ask about the periodontist’s demeanor, treatment plan, and pricing. You can also ask if the office was comfortable and how many visits were required to treat their particular issue. If someone you know and trust visited a local periodontist and is willing to share feedback, you’re likely to get an honest perspective
3. Check Your Insurance
After receiving a referral from your dentist or another patient, an important step is to ensure the periodontist accepts your dental insurance plan. If your provider is in-network, then it’s a good idea to review all of your benefits. Dental coverages vary by carrier and plan type, and not all procedures are covered. Contact your insurance company to review your options, so you can try to estimate any out-of-pocket expenses. If you’re considering a procedure like dental implants, your doctor will review pricing with you ahead of time.
4. Check Their Certifications
Simply finding a local periodontist isn’t always enough, you want to also be sure they’re experienced and certified. You should always feel comfortable asking how many years a periodontist has been practicing and where they went to school. Prior to practicing, a periodontist must earn a 4-year degree and complete dental school. But the training doesn’t stop there — they are also required to go through 3 to 7 years of extra hands-on training in a periodontology residency program. This additional education allows doctors to specialize in periodontics on top of their regular dental skills.
In addition to completing the required education, a periodontist should be board certified and a member of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology. Membership with these organizations provides periodontists with necessary training and education around best practices and new technology. Affiliation with these organizations also requires periodontists to maintain a track record of excellent patient care, so they can essentially serve as an endorsement.
5. Discuss Technology
The technology used to treat gum and bone issues is constantly evolving. The last thing you want is to see a doctor that uses out-of-date treatment methods. A good periodontist will use the latest technology when diagnosing and treating your condition. Ask whether your doctor uses laser gum treatment, 3D imaging, and digital x-rays and if they are familiar with the latest and greatest treatment options for periodontitis. By using current technology and treatment methods, your periodontist can minimize risk and perform procedures with less pain and faster recovery times.
6. Ask About Availability
If a periodontist is booked solid, it might be a good sign that he or she is experienced and well-trusted. However, if you’re having trouble scheduling an appointment and there isn’t a lot of flexibility, that might not bode so well for your treatment plan. Oftentimes treatment plans require multiple visits, so you’ll want to try to avoid a scheduling nightmare if you can help it. As a result, it’s important to find and work with a periodontist who is able to get you the care you need when you need it. Don’t hesitate to ask about availability and scheduling flexibility upfront.
What To Expect During Your First Appointment
Visiting your periodontist shouldn’t be a stressful event. Your doctor should make every attempt to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. During your first visit, you can expect your provider to do an initial evaluation of your current condition, review your medical history, and formulate a treatment plan. Your periodontist may also take x-rays to help diagnose the issue. After your first appointment, you’ll be provided with a treatment plan recommendation and you’ll schedule any necessary follow-up appointments.
Finding a good periodontist doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re looking for an experienced periodontist in Central Florida, contact Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry today. Dr. Stuart Beauchamp has extensive experience, training, and education in periodontics and can work with you to formulate the best possible treatment plan.