The Role of a Periodontist
The primary goal of dentistry is to save teeth and keep them healthy for a lifetime. The fundamental role of the periodontist in dentistry is to do just that.
Using contemporary techniques and technology, teeth that have been affected by periodontal disease or that are structurally damaged frequently can be saved and have a favorable long-term future.
Teeth that have been diagnosed to have periodontal disease and are at risk of being lost are treated by different protocols. Typically, the treatment recommended is based on the extent of damage that the disease has caused.
Early disease can often be managed by scaling and root planing. On occasion, this may be combined with a course of antibiotics.
Treatment of more advanced disease frequently includes surgical treatment to create a gum-to-tooth relationship that can be kept healthy by daily oral hygiene and periodontal cleanings at the appropriate interval. The surgical procedures may involve techniques that regenerate the destroyed bone around a tooth by bone grafting and the use of growth factors that stimulate regrowth of tissue.
Once treatment is completed, successful maintenance is directly related to a lifetime of preventive care. This includes meticulous daily oral hygiene and cleanings performed at the appropriate interval under the supervision of a periodontist.
Teeth that have been structurally damaged by decay, fracture, or trauma may require a periodontal surgical procedure as part of the treatment to restore them back to normal function. This type of surgery exposes more of the tooth, enabling the dentist to place a restoration that recreates the original form of the tooth being treated.
When a tooth is deemed not treatable, the periodontist is the appropriate practitioner to replace it with an implant. Periodontists are accustomed to treating patients collaboratively with restorative dentists, essential to successful implant dentistry. The surgical skills of the periodontist can influence the longevity of the implant and its appearance as an integral part of the smile.
Implants are vulnerable to gum disease. Therefore, prior to implants being placed, a screening should be performed to determine if there is any existing gum disease anywhere in the mouth. Treatment of gum disease should precede the placement of an implant to prevent future infection.
Periodontists typically emphasize a preventive care program following implant placement to ensure a healthy long-term result.
In contemporary dentistry, the periodontist is often the pivotal figure in enabling prospective patients to maintain their teeth and create an optimal environment for the replacement of teeth that have been or may be lost.