Your teeth are important to you, and you want them to last for life or for as long as possible – which is why you (likely) have a regular general dentist or at least realize it would be ideal if you did have one.
But your gums are no less important to oral health, and there are other dental procedures too that require a dental specialist. A good local periodontist can take care of the things that most general dentists aren’t qualified to handle – and most Americans have a genuine need to see a periodontist at least once or twice a year.
Here are the basics you need to know as you begin your search for a local periodontist you and your family can trust for many years to come.
What Exactly Is A Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dental specialist who receives at least three years of additional, specialized education and training, beyond regular dental school. This equips them to handle complex cases and areas of expertise that most general dentists can’t adequately handle. That’s why your regular dentist may even refer you to a local periodontist for treatment.
The focus of periodontists is the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease. They also are usually experts in placing dental implants and in preparing the mouth for implants. They handle several additional specialized areas of (related) care as well.
Even if you do not have a specific problem that requires a periodontist, you should still consider scheduling an annual periodontal appointment. Periodontists can give you a checkup on your periodontal health and help you avoid developing gum disease or losing teeth. Since the majority of US adults will have some form of gum disease at some point in life, it makes sense to be on your guard against it.
What Specific Services Do Periodontists Offer?
We have already mentioned some of the main things that periodontists do. But we need to get a bit more specific. Here are some of the most common services that many periodontists will offer their patients:
- Periodontal treatment. Traditional treatments for gum disease like root planing and scaling, gum-flap surgery, and soft tissue grafts are a big part of what periodontists do. If you even think you may have gingivitis or a more advanced stage of gum disease, do not hesitate to see a local periodontist.
- Laser periodontal treatment is offered by many periodontists who are up to date with their procedures and equipment. Laser gum surgery is less invasive, involves little to no pain, and allows gums to heal faster. These are only a few of its many benefits.
- Sinus augmentation. Sinus augmentation can help prepare your mouth for dental implants in some cases. It may also be needed for other reasons.
- Dental implant placement. Modern dental implants are made of titanium and fuse safely to the bone underneath your gums (alveolar ridge). A dental crown is connected to the implant rod. You can even put permanent dentures on top of four dental implant rods. Implants are a specialized procedure that you should insist on having a professional periodontist handle for you.
- Tooth extractions. Extractions, whether simple or surgical extractions, sometimes are necessary. A periodontist can take care of that for you and can even place a dental implant on the same day in many cases.
- Bone grafting will rebuild deteriorated bone structure on your alveolar ridge. This is often needed to give implants a place to take root. You have to have a bone mass that is thick enough and strong enough to support a dental implant.
- PST grafts. PST (pinhole surgical technique) grafts refer to a process by which a receded gum line is pulled back into the proper position and attached to the teeth so the gum line won’t just sag back down again. This is a modern technique that only the most advanced periodontists are likely to offer.
- Sedation dentistry is offered by many dentists and periodontists. It uses low to moderate sedation to help the patient who is nervous (or can’t sit still) in the dental chair to relax during the procedure.
What To Look For In A Local Periodontist
Once you know what a periodontist is and why you might need to see one, the next step is finding one that is right for you. Look for a local periodontist who has these 5 characteristics:
- A strong local reputation. Check out online reviews and talk to people who have used the periodontist in question in the past.
- High marks, board certified, and other industry-rating organizations.
- A wide range of services and the ability to serve your entire family for a lifetime.
- Up-to-date equipment and techniques and a comfortable, friendly dental office.
- A willingness to work with patients, scheduling them flexibly, and seeing needy patients for emergency visits.
Looking for a great local periodontist in Central Florida? Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry meets all the above-listed criteria and more. We have served Ormond Beach and surrounding communities for many years and look forward to helping you care for your smile as well!