Do you need a referral to see a periodontist? The short answer is no. However, you’ll want to consider why you’re visiting one in the first place. It’s important to determine the difference between regular dentistry and periodontists. General dentists are trained and educated on how to treat a wide variety of dental conditions, including how to recognize and treat early forms of gum disease. However, they do not specialize in treating gum conditions. Conversely, periodontists specialize in the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of gum disease among other advanced services.
Differences Between General Dentistry and Periodontists
A periodontist possesses three additional years of education after they graduate from dental school. During this time, they learn how to perform various restorative and cosmetic periodontal procedures. These treatments and procedures are designed to enhance both function and aesthetics. This means a periodontist can offer a wide range of services that go above and beyond general dentistry.
In some cases, however, a dentist and a periodontist will work together as a team. Therefore, although you don’t have to get a referral to see a periodontist from your dentist, many times, a trip to a periodontist is recommended by your regular dentist. In these situations, a dentist will often suggest a periodontist with which they trust and enjoy working with.
How Prevalent is Gum Disease or Periodontitis?
According to the American Dental Association, around 47.2% of American adults, who are over the age of 30 suffer from some level of gum disease. If you fall into this category, you need to pay special attention to your overall gum health. While it might seem minor, periodontitis is an infection affecting the tissues supporting your teeth. Long term health effects of gum disease include an increased risk of developing the following conditions:
- Heart Attacks and Heart Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
As evidenced by the above list of potential health risks, gum disease should not be taken lightly and must be addressed in its earliest stages. Delaying dental care will result in irreversible damage to your teeth and gums.
Signs You Need To See A Periodontist
If you note any of the following signs in your oral health, this indicates you need to seek the services of a periodontist as soon as possible:
- A Change in Your Bite: If you notice your teeth feel different when you are brushing your teeth, talking, or chewing, this can suggest a potential problem. A periodontist can determine what caused the change and what can be done to rectify the situation.
- Your Teeth Feel Loose: As previously mentioned, periodontitis is a serious condition with the potential for long term health problems. Loose teeth can be one of the first signs of this condition. Your teeth loosen as the bones thin due to the bacteria infection associated with gum disease. If you notice your teeth are looser than before, it’s wise to visit a periodontist to determine the cause of the problem.
- You Have Bleeding, Swollen or Red Gums: This is one of the most obvious signs that you need to visit a periodontist. If you notice blood when brushing your flossing your teeth, this might indicate a potential gum related problem.
- You Have Discomfort or Pain: Pain and discomfort is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. In the case of dental issues, many times your pain can be pinpointed down to a specific tooth. However, in some cases, the pain is coming from below the teeth and from the gums themselves. This could indicate serious underlying problems that demand the attention of a skilled periodontist.
- Your Gums Are Receding: It is common for your gums to recede naturally as you age, to a certain extent. This recession should not be that noticeable, though. If you do notice your gums receding by noting your teeth look longer, this could indicate that periodontal disease is present.
Services Provided By A Periodontist
Below is a list of services that can not be performed by a general dentist but can be performed by our periodontist in his Vero Beach office:
- Tooth extraction
- Bone grafting
- Tissue grafting
- Sinus augmentation
- Guided tissue regeneration
- Guided bone regeneration
- Dental implants
- Surgical cleaning
- Wisdom teeth removal
- Periodontal maintenance
- Sedation options
If you notice any of the problems outlined previously, are experiencing another problem not mentioned, or are in need of the services listed above contact Dr. Brown at Vero Implants and Periodontics today! Our team of skilled dental professionals would be happy to help you get started!