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Periodontist What is a Periodontist?

A periodontist is a specialist in periodontics. Periodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the tissues that support your teeth: your gums and jawbone. Our modern word “periodontics” is created from joining the two Greek words, “peri,” which means “around,” and “odont,” which means “tooth.” So a specialist in periodontics treats conditions and disorders that affect the tissues that are “around” the “tooth.” In modern practice, this means that a periodontist specializes in treating, diagnosing, and preventing problems that can impact your teeth which originate in your gums or jawbone. The fact that roughly half the country has some form of gum disease indicates that there is likely a lot of demand for periodontists’ services.

What Exactly Does a Periodontist Do?

Some of the things that a periodontist does on a regular basis can include the following:

  • Diagnosis and Treat Problems – Periodontists are experts at diagnosing and treating a number of gum diseases including gingivitis, a mild inflammation of the gums, and periodontitis, which is an advanced gum disease. They also evaluate overall gum health, assess the degree of damage to the gums, and then create a treatment plan to address the problem.
  • Scaling and Root Planing (SRP) – This is essentially a deep dental cleaning periodontists use to treat gum disease. After local anesthesia is used to numb the gums, plaque, tartar, and harmful bacteria are removed from deep below the gumline. The surface of tooth roots are also smoothed to prevent the growth of bacterial and to encourage the gums to reattach to the tooth.
  • Periodontal Surgery – Periodontists often perform surgery on people’s gums. There are many types of these surgeries or treatments which address damage caused by gum disease along with other issues. These procedures include gum grafts, gingival flap surgery, bone grafts, surgical crown lengthening, difficult tooth extractions, smile lifts, and even frenectomies when someone’s lips or tongue are held too close to the gums.
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