A periodontist is a specialist who is an expert in the gingival tissues and the underlying alveolar bone that houses the teeth. A dentist must graduate from a dental school and then three years of specialty training within a periodontal residency training program, in order to become a periodontist.

The focus of this residency training is on non-surgical and surgical management of periodontal disease and the placement of implants.

Dental Diseases Treated by Periodontists

The periodontist is mainly concerned with preventing gum disease; detecting diseases affecting the jawbone and gums; and treating periodontitis, jawbone loss, and gingivitis. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.

The periodontist can treat mild, moderate, and even severe periodontal disease by first assessing the gum infection at the root of the problem, providing periodontal treatments, and then providing information on good oral hygiene and effective brushing and flossing.

Common conditions treated by a periodontal specialist are:

  • Lost teeth. When teeth are lost due to bone loss, the periodontist can place dental implants. These teeth are surgically placed in the jawbone and restore the function of the mouth.
  • Mild to moderate periodontitis. When the pockets between the connective tissue of the gums and teeth are between 4-6mm it is categorized as moderate gum disease.
  • Severe periodontitis. When the gingival pockets between the soft tissue and teeth are longer than six millimeters in depth, severe bone loss may have occurred; causing tooth shifting.
  • Gingivitis. This is the mild inflammation of the gingiva which may or may not be accompanied by tenderness and bleeding of the gums.

Procedures Performed by a Periodontist

Periodontists can perform a variety of treatments to stop the progression of periodontal disease, restore lost teeth, and make the smile aesthetically pleasing.

Here are some of the treatments frequently performed by the periodontist:

  • Deep pocket cleanings. As gingivitis and periodontitis progress, it becomes more and more difficult to cleanse the teeth and soft tissues. The periodontist can scale and root plane the teeth (sometimes with local anesthetic) to remove tartar and infection-causing bacteria.
  • Gingivoplasty (soft tissue recontouring). When gums recede because of periodontitis, the teeth may look too long; causing a 'toothy' smile. The periodontist can remove tissues or even out the gum line to make the teeth look straighter.
  • Osteoplasty (hard tissue recontouring). Once periodontitis has been managed, your Brooklyn periodontist or dentist can recontour the hard tissue to make your smile natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Bone grafting. Tooth implants can only be positioned if there is enough bone to attach the implant fixture to. If there is jawbone loss, bone grafting is one way to add bone to which a tooth implant may be properly secured.
  • Dental implants. When a tooth or several teeth are missing, the specialist can create a prosthetic replacement by placing a dental implant in the jawbone.
  • Crown lengthening. In order to expose more of a natural tooth, the periodontist is able to remove some of the gingival tissue around it.

A gum specialist is a highly skilled dental health professional who can diagnose and manage several commonly occurring soft tissue and bone problems in the oral cavity.

Contact Brooklyn Dentist if you have any questions.