Your general dentist may have recommended you see a periodontist. But what exactly is a periodontist? In a nutshell, it’s a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment (non-surgical and surgical) of periodontal diseases, the placement of tooth implants, and cosmetic oral plastic surgery. A periodontist completed dental school then took three to seven years additional training, after receiving their DDS or DMD. And if your periodontist is board-certified, they’ve also undertaken additional studies and passed comprehensive written and oral examinations, completing detailed reports on a range of periodontist-specific treatments. Finding the right one will be critical to your continued dental health.
Choosing the right periodontist is a decision you can make with the advice of your dentist. Your dentist knows your specific oral health needs and can give you a recommendation. But you have the option to ask questions of a potential periodontist to ensure that they’re the best fit for you. If you are concerned about pain, be sure you choose a periodontist with a gentle touch and a compassionate and empathetic manner. You’ll also want to know what types of medication, sedation, and pain-relief options are available. In addition, you’ll want to know how long the periodontist has been in practice, what continuing education they’ve completed, and if they specialize in performing the specific treatment that you need. Look into their dental equipment and technology.
Another important consideration when choosing the right periodontist is whether their practice accepts your dental insurance and what costs you’ll incur. Does the practice have payment options that best suit your needs? Don’t neglect to have important dental procedures performed because of the cost — this can lead to even greater pain and increased costs down the road. Instead, choose a periodontist who can work with you and your insurance to ensure you get the oral health care you need.
Procedures like dental implants, regeneration, pocket reduction, and scaling and root planing are performed by a periodontist. In addition, the treatment of gingivitis, gingival sculpting, soft tissue grafting, and ridge augmentation are also procedures periodontists specialize in. If you have questions about any of these procedures, don’t be afraid to ask. Establishing a rapport with your prospective doctor will allow you to get a better sense of their enthusiasm and manner and enable you to make a more informed decision.
If you go to one periodontist and aren’t satisfied, don’t be afraid to get another opinion. Ignoring gum disease can lead to far more complex health complications down the road. By choosing the right periodontist for your specific oral health needs, you can vastly improve the quality of your life. You are partnering with a specialist who will help you take back control of not only your oral health but your overall wellness.