You go to the dentist and he or she says that you need to see a periodontist. So now you’re wondering what the heck they do and why you need to see a specialist for your teeth.
Well, wonder no more, because periodontists are actually just dentists that deal with the structures of your teeth rather than the teeth alone, they like to mechanics of how teeth are held in the jaw, and deal with things like gums and conditions that affect them.
The term periodontist comes from the Greek ‘peri’ which means around and ‘odous’ which means tooth. It’s no surprise then that they look at what is around your teeth and how those supporting structures are working with your teeth for optimum oral health.
If your gums are healthy they are pink and hug the teeth that they are around nice and tight. This means that bacteria has a harder time getting between the gum and tooth and keeps your mouth more healthy. If, however your gums are diseased or damaged in some way, they will fit around the teeth more loosely, making pockets where bacteria can get in and grow. Gums that are not healthy can also cause the teeth to not be anchored properly, which poses a problem when you go to eat and smile. Gums that aren’t working to their optimum health also cause problems when someone needs braces on their teeth. An orthodontist can’t start treatment to move teeth to their optimal position when they aren’t anchored properly to start with.
Gum disease is a big issue and we hear all the time about how important it is to brush and floss our teeth regularly and properly. A periodontist can see your gum disease and how it is progressing and then help you turn it around to that you are not at risk for losing teeth or having a gum or jaw disease that would be harder and more expensive to treat.
Keeping our teeth and mouth healthy and clean goes a long way in preventing gum disease and keeping you away from the periodontist, but there are other things like injuries and preventative care that they are the specialists for.
A periodontist is first a dentist, and then takes a specialty to become the experts in tooth structures that they are. While they may be a lesser known professional, they do great work and keep that smile looking great!