What is a periodontist? A periodontist is a dental specialist who treats periodontal disease and related issues. All dentists receive training in preventing and treating periodontal issues, but severe or complex cases will usually be referred to a periodontist. “All periodontists must complete an additional two to three years of specialized training in periodontics following dental school” (American Academy of Periodontology).
Not only can a periodontist help treat severe periodontal disease, but he or she can also help restore a smile that’s been affected. Your general dentist and periodontist will work closely together to develop a treatment plan that is custom-made for your particular needs. Why do I need a periodontist?
“In many ways, the mouth can be seen as a mirror of the general condition of your body. In particular, our periodontal status can often tell us more than simply what is happening locally in our gums. Although periodontitis is always triggered by plaque accumulation on the teeth, diseases affecting the rest of the body …can weaken the supporting structures of the teeth. Also, some serious disorders are known to show themselves in the mouth before they are evident in any other part of the body…” (European Federation of Periodontology).
Gum disease and periodontal disease (periodontitis) is the most common dental problem affecting 7 out of every 10 Canadians according to the Canadian Dental Association (and similar numbers can be assumed for Americans). It is estimated that at least half of non-institutionalized people over the age of 55 have periodontitis, and periodontal disease and tooth decay are the leading reason why 1 in 4 people over the age of 65 have lost all of their teeth (AAP).
Methods for finding and choosing a periodontist.
If you require the expertise of a periodontist, your dentist will make a referral to the periodontal specialist whom he or she feels can best handle your case. Some patients may take advantage of the Internet age and “Google” it, but patients can also obtain information from their insurance company or by word of mouth.
With the recent trend in multi-disciplinary practices, such as Wellesley Dental Arts in Wellesely, Massachusetts, a periodontal patient doesn’t need to go through all that searching and doesn’t even need to go do a different location. Patients can get the specialized care and treatment they need right in the same building. Wellesley Dental Arts offer the convenience of providing general and specialized dental treatment in one stop, which not only makes it easier for their patients, but also makes coordinating, developing and implementing a comprehensive treatment plan much less hectic and time consuming.
- What is a Periodontist?, European Federation of Periodontology
- Why is periodontology important?, European Federation of Periodontology
- Oral Health and Older Adults, American Academy of Periodontology
- Gum Disease FAQs, Canadian Dental Association
- How to choose a Periodontist, Periodontist.org