Most people are familiar with the various specialties medical doctors can pursue. There are pediatricians for young children, surgeons, emergency doctors, general practitioners, and a host of others. What you may be less familiar with are the various areas of specialization in the field of dentistry. Just like medical doctors, dentists can also specialize in a single area of oral health, which is good news for patients who have more serious or unusual dental problems. Periodontics is one such area of specialization. Periodontists are mostly concerned with patients’s gums rather than their teeth. They perform a number of valuable services, including the placement of dental implants and the treatment of gum disease.
Most periodontists spend the majority of their time treating gum disease and inflammation. These are common issues in the United States, affecting nearly half of all adults. Periodontists can help diagnose issues with the gums while they are still in the early stages, and prescribe a treatment program for more advanced gum disease. They also work with patients who have diabetes and other conditions that are known to make gum disease worse.
Periodontists also place permanent dental implants and perform some other types of oral surgery. Since permanent implants involve placing a replacement tooth directly into the tissue of the gum, a periodontist is a good fit for this procedure. When teeth are lost to gum disease, a periodontist can also provide options for different replacement procedures.
Finding a Periodontist
Most people are referred to a periodontist by their primary care dentist. Some dental practices have an in-house periodontist on staff which means that patients don’t have to travel far. Other dentists outsource patients to a different practice where they know the periodontists are trustworthy.