A periodontist is a dentist who deals primarily with issues that affect the gums. Gum disease is one of the main issues they deal with. It is a dental issue that can be reversed early on, but it can lead to serious health issues and the loss of teeth in its advanced stages. According to current data, almost half of adults over the age of 30 in the U.S. have some form of gum disease.
Not all of these people have to see a periodontist. The earlier stages of gum disease can be treated by general dentists, but the most severe cases are typically referred to a periodontist.
Signs the services of a periodontist are needed
Here are some good indicators that it is time for a person to see a periodontist:
1. Their bite changes
Changes to the way a person's teeth feel while brushing, talking or chewing often require treatment from a periodontist. Changes in a person's bite patterns can lead to some pretty serious issues down the road. A periodontist can diagnose the cause of these changes and come up with a treatment plan.
2. Reddish, inflamed gums that bleed easily
This is a sure sign that a visit to the dentist is in order. Gums are not supposed to bleed while brushing unless the person is being too aggressive with the brush. When gums bleed often during brushing, there is a very good chance the person already has gum disease.
3. Loose teeth
If a person notices some of their teeth are becoming loose, that is a sign they might have gum disease. The infection will lead to the total loss of the tooth if left untreated. People with loose teeth need to see a periodontist immediately.
4. Receding gums
It is natural for gums to recede as a person ages, but the recession should not be noticeable. If the recession is enough to make the person's teeth appear longer than they normally are, that might be a sign of gum disease. The only way to know for certain is by getting checked out at a clinic.
5. Pain and discomfort coming from the gums
Pain in the mouth is usually caused by a tooth, but gum disease leads to pain underneath and around teeth. If the pain is severe, there is a very good chance the person's condition has already reached the advanced stages. Immediate treatment is needed to prevent permanent damage to the support structures that hold teeth in place.
Why it is better to see a periodontist
While general dentists can treat a variety of dental issues including gum disease, a periodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. These professionals have a few years of additional training after dental school learning about issues that affect the gums. It makes them the most qualified people in the world to deal with anything related to the gums.
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