Why is a periodontist necessary?

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, as well as in the placement and repair of dental implants. 

Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. They have studied the related research in depth and are familiar with the latest and most accurate techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease around natural teeth and dental implants. In addition, they are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.

Periodontists have the knowledge and skill to treat more complicated/advanced periodontal cases, such as those with severe gum disease along with or not a complex medical history, prosthetic and orthodontic needs. These cases necessitate immediate and effective management of the disease. Periodontists can treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical and nonsurgical procedures.

Finally, as aforementioned, periodontists are trained in the placement of implants and especially in the treatment of advanced implant cases requiring gum and/or bone grafts (highly demanding cases in aspects of aesthetics and function). Moreover, they have the knowledge and skill to prevent and control infection around implants (periimplantitis).

Your general dentist may give you advice and simple periodontal treatment, indicative and sufficient for mild periodontal infection. However, patients who present with moderate or severe levels of periodontal disease, or patients with more complex cases, will be best managed by a partnership between the dentist and periodontist.

 

Who Should See a Periodontist? 

Some patients' periodontal needs can be managed by the general dentist. However, as more and more patients are exhibiting signs of periodontal disease, coupled with research that suggests a relationship between periodontal disease and other chronic diseases of aging, periodontal treatment may necessitate a greater understanding and increased level of expertise by a trained specialist.
 

For guidance only, the following categories of patients would benefit from a periodontal consultation:

  • Patients with periodontal disease that are in need of treatment by a specialist
  • Patients who continue to exhibit signs of infection despite previous treatment
  • Patients who do not know if they have periodontal disease
  • Patients who have never had a periodontal examination
  • Patients exhibiting warning signs of the disease and/or relate to one or more of the risk factors,especially smoking (more details in the periodontal disease section)
  • Patients with bad oral hygiene
  • Patients with complex medical history, especially diabetes and heart disease (more details in the periodontal disease section)
  • Patients in need of prosthetic and /or orthodontic treatment (to ensure periodontal health prior to these interventions and/or to assist the treatment outcome)
  • Patients in need of implant treatment, especially cases that are not straightforward (i.e. in need of bone and gum grafts)
  • Patients with implants for proper maintenance and periimplantitis prevention
  • Patients with family history of periodontitis or whose family members lost teeth non-accidentally at an early age 


When should I see a periodontist? 

The sooner the better (as with all other chronic illnesses)

It goes without saying that prevention or at least early treatment of periodontal disease is beneficial to both patient and dentist for all other dental interventions.
The sooner a proper diagnosis and treatment takes place, the less advanced and costly the interventions. 

Moreover, periodontal examination is considered critical in patients that will have prosthetic, orthodontic and/or implant treatment as well as patients with systemic diseases such as diabetes and hear disease due to their interrelationship (more details in the section of periodontal disease)
Patients with periodontal disease should not proceed with the aforementioned dental treatments until the disease is well controlled.


Is there treatment? What is the aim

It is imperative to realise that periodontal disease can be treated.

The development of periodontal disease in a patient means that this person is particularly susceptible to dental plaque and periodontal infection. This susceptibility is influenced by many factors and unfortunately, it does not go away. However, it is particularly encouraging that it can be controlled in such a way that a well-controlled periodontal patient will not differ from a patient that does not have periodontal problems.
 

The aims of the treatment are the arrest of the progression of the disease and its negative impact (gum recession, bone loss, tooth loss), as well as the rehabilitation of periodontal health with replacement of lost tissues (gum, bone) whenever possible.

 

What happens if I do not have the treatment?

As a chronic infection, periodontal disease is constantly progressing with variant periods of exacerbation and remission in each patient. Therefore, if left untreated, a mild periodontal infection will definitely evolve at some stage to more advanced forms of disease.

The more advanced the periodontal disease, the greater the duration of the treatment with proportionate limitations such as increased risk of losing teeth.

The sooner periodontal disease is managed, the less the damage to oral and systemic health.