According to research by the American Dental Association, 95 percent of the American population considers oral hygiene essential to their overall health and well-being. However, even with this widely held opinion, many Americans fail to practice proper habits such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Consequently, almost half of the adult population has gum disease.
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, develops as a result of an infection that damages the soft tissue in the gums. If left untreated, gum disease can spread to affect the bone that holds teeth in place.
If you have gum disease, you might be wondering whether you should see a dentist or a periodontist for treatment.
A dentist versus a periodontist
The major difference between a dentist and a periodontist in the area of specialization. Your dentist is a general practitioner who does regular check-ups and cleanings to ensure that oral health is maintained. A periodontist diagnoses and treats severe issues, including diseases of the gums and bone that support teeth.
How do you know if you should see a dentist or a periodontist?
If you have mild gum disease, an experienced dentist may be able to treat or manage your symptoms. However, if your symptoms range from moderate to severe, a periodontist is the best dental professional to manage your case.
Here are some symptoms that may indicate that a trip to the periodontist is necessary:
- Excessive gum bleeding. Bleeding that occurs during eating or brushing is a sign of gum disease that should prompt you to make an appointment with a periodontist.
- Bad breath. Chronic bad breath, not easily remedied by brushing, is also a sign of periodontitis. Bad breath that persists after daily cleaning may be a sign that there is an infection in the gums that requires immediate treatment.
- Loose teeth. Periodontitis can severely affect the bone that provides anchorage for teeth causing them to become loose. If you notice that your teeth are loose, you should contact a periodontist. If left untreated, you may experience tooth loss.
- Receding gums. Gums naturally recede with age. However, this should not be noticeable. If your teeth start to appear longer than usual, it means that your gums are receding at an accelerated rate, which is a sign of periodontitis.
- Pain. Pain or discomfort in the mouth can usually be linked to a specific tooth or area of the mouth. But if you notice discomfort in or around the gums, this may be a sign of something more serious.
Depending on the severity of your condition, your periodontist may choose a non-surgical or surgical approach to treatment. Non-surgical treatment includes scaling, root planing, and antibiotics to manage symptoms. However, more advanced treatment options like regenerative therapy, soft tissue grafting, bone grafting, or laser-assisted periodontal treatment may be required if your condition is advanced.
Are you searching for a Slidell Periodontist?
If you have concerns about periodontitis, we can help at St. Tammany Periodontics and Implants. We are a team of qualified and experienced dental professionals committed to providing patients with the highest quality dental care. We offer varying treatments for periodontitis, including periodontal therapy, laser therapy, and gum recession treatment.
Our dedication to being at the cutting edge of technology is unparalleled, and we use the most advanced and minimally invasive procedures to help provide you with optimum results and the highest comfort levels.