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What is a Periodontist? 

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in treating diseases of the gums and bone that support the teeth.  A dentist must first graduate from an accredited dental school before undertaking an additional three years of study within a periodontology residency training program, in order to qualify as a periodontist. In addition, Dr. Cecala is trained in I.V. Conscious Sedation.

The primary focus of this residency training is on both surgical and non-surgical management of periodontal disease and the placement of dental implants.

Conditions Treated by a Periodontist

The periodontist is mainly concerned with preventing the onset of gum disease (periodontal disease), diagnosing conditions affecting the gums and jawbone, and treating gingivitis, periodontitis and bone loss. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition and the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world.

A periodontist treats mild, moderate and advanced gum disease by first addressing the bacterial infection at the root of the problem, providing periodontal treatment, then providing information and education on good oral hygiene and the effective cleaning of the teeth.

The most common conditions treated by the periodontist are:

  • Gingivitis – This is the mild inflammation of the gums which may or may not be signified by pain and bleeding.
  • Mild/moderate periodontitis – When the pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues are measured to be between 4-5mm it is classified as moderate periodontitis (gum disease).
  • Advanced periodontitis – When the pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues in general exceed 6mm in depth, significant bone loss may occur; causing shifting or loss of teeth.
  • Missing teeth – When teeth are missing as a result of bone loss, the periodontist can place implants.  These implants are anchored to the jawbone and support crowns, bridges or dentures to restore function to the mouth.

Treatments Performed By a Periodontist

The periodontist is able to perform a wide range of treatments to control the progression of gum disease, replace missing teeth and make the appearance of the smile more aesthetically pleasing.

Here are some of the treatments commonly performed by the periodontist:

  • Implant placement – When a tooth or several teeth are missing, the periodontist is able to create a natural-looking replacement by placing an implant into the jawbone.  Once the area is healed you will see your dentist to place a prosthetic tooth or teeth.
  • Osteoplasty (hard tissue recontouring) – Once periodontitis has been treated, the periodontist can recontour the hard tissue to make the smile both natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing.    
  • Gum GraftingAs gums recede due to periodontitis, the teeth may appear longer; causing a “toothy" smile. The periodontist can add gum tissue to these areas to protect the roots and supporting bone.
  • Bone grafting – Dental implants can only be positioned if there is sufficient bone to support the implant. If bone loss has occurred, bone grafting is an excellent way to add or “grow” bone so that an implant may be properly secured.
  • Deep pocket cleanings – As gingivitis and periodontitis progress, it becomes more difficult to clean the pockets around the teeth.  The periodontist can scale and root plane the teeth (usually with a local anesthetic) to remove debris and infection below the gums.
  • Crown lengthening – In order to expose more of the natural tooth, the periodontist can remove some of the surrounding hard and soft tissue around the tooth.  This allows your dentist to have better access to the decayed part of the tooth.

The periodontist is a highly skilled dental health professional who is able to diagnose and treat many commonly occurring soft tissue and bone problems in the oral cavity

Be sure to ask your periodontist if you have any questions or concerns.

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