While many people can tell you that a podiatrist is a doctor of feet, a cardiologist is a heart doctor, and a dermatologist is a doctor of skin, few people are as well-versed in dental specialties. One of the most common types of dental specialist is a periodontist. But what is periodontics, anyway?
Periodontics (or periodontology) is the study and treatment of the supporting structures of the teeth and associated disorders. Many common treatments by periodontists are dental implant restorations, gum disease, and other cosmetic dentistry. Many people mistake periodontists for endodontists, and vice versa. An endodontist studies the root of the tooth and surrounding tissues, treating root canal treatments, cracked teeth, and other dental trauma.
A visit to a periodontist may be in order when a patient has gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or periodontitis, where the gums pull away from the teeth. A periodontist can treat these disorders by cleaning the surface of the gums or removing damaged tissue.
In addition to treating the gums, periodontists are also trained to install and maintain dental implants. Single implants, connected to the bone can be combined with implant restorations (or crowns) to replace one missing tooth at a time. Multiple missing teeth can be replaced with a bridge, which uses surrounding teeth for support. Healthy gum tissue and an adequate amount of bone in which to install the implant are necessary for a successful dental implant.
Should the patient lack the necessary oral bone in which to place an implant, the periodontist or oral surgeon can use a bone substitute to build up the area of the mouth where natural bone is lacking. Usually this occurs toward the back of the jaw, near the sinus, or beneath the gums.
Periodontists often work in tandem with a patient’s primary dentist to ensure that the proper care is received. Whether the patient needs a small quantity of infected gum tissue removed, dental implant restorations, or full-mouth dentures, a periodontist is ready to help them get their mouths back to normal. Links like this.