Treating Periodontal Disease in Birmingham, AL
What Is A Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. They are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, and are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.
Periodontists often treat more problematic periodontal cases, such as those with severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, such as scaling and root planing (in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned) or root surface debridement (in which damaged tissue is removed). They can also treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures. In addition, periodontists are specially trained in the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants.
What Does A Periodontist Do For Gum Disease?
For minor to moderate gum disease, treatment starts with less-invasive, non-surgical procedures such as scaling and root planing, in which specialized hand tools are used to deep-clean the surfaces of the teeth below the gum line.
If periodontal disease has progressed such that gum tissue no longer fits snug against the teeth, minor gum surgery might be required to address the loose “pockets.” During a pocket reduction procedure, the periodontist will open a small flap in the gums to remove infected tissue so healthier gum tissue can naturally reattach to the teeth. An alternative less invasive option may be to use an Nd:YAG laser to “tighten up” the loose pockets.
Advanced gum disease can erode bone in the jaw and severely damage supporting tissues, and if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. Periodontists can help arrest or even reverse the damage in some cases by performing regenerative procedures including bone grafts, gum grafts, and treatments that stimulate tissue growth.