Difference Between a Periodontist and a General Dentist. HThere are many different branches of dentistry and some overlap in areas, but you wouldn’t visit a urologist if your tonsils are sore. Similarly, if you are having severe gum problems, you would probably visit a specialist called a periodontist rather than a general dentist. However, much of this also depends on the individual professional practice and the particular dentist’s specialties. Periodontists primarily treat problems associated with the gums. Such as infections, gingivitis, and the later stages of gum disease. They also do highly specialized work such as cosmetic dentistry including denture and crown fittings, dental implants, and reconstructive bone and tissue work.
Most dentists are well-equipped to treat mild forms of gum disease. However, if you have a difficult case they may refer you to a periodontist who is more specialized. There are two main types of these diseases: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is in the early stages and can be quite common. If your gums bleed, swell, or become tender while brushing or flossing, you may want to seek the advice of a periodontist, but a visit to the dental hygienist or your dentist is usually enough to stop the spread of infection. Regular cleanings and proper home care will also ensure good oral health. If caught and treated early, this condition can be reversed with no severe damage.
A more severe form of these diseases is periodontitis, which happens if there is extreme plaque buildup over time. The plaque hardens into calculus, which cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone. Eventually, this eats away at the tissues and bones, loosening the teeth and causing the gums to recede. If infection is severe enough, teeth will either fall out or need to be extracted and replaced by false teeth. Some people may have few noticeable signs of the diseases progression, which is why regular dental and if necessary, periodontist visits are necessary. Damage done by this disease is often permanent and will require cosmetic reconstructive techniques such as dental implants or false teeth.
Good health isn’t only important to keep your smile bright and complete, but poor oral health and has been linked to a variety of other, more serious health complications including diabetes, heart problems, and even some forms of cancer. In addition to destroying the appearance of smiles, gum disease in later stages can be painful, even causing abscesses in the mouth and jaw. Trench-mouth is another concern, which can cause severe and constant bad breath as well as the death of tissues.
If you think you might have disease or a similar problem, it is often best to consult with your general dentist first and ask for advice and a periodontist recommendation if necessary. The sooner you get an evaluation and treatment if required, the more likely you can prevent irreversible damage. Proper and consistent home oral care is another way to help stop gum diseases before it starts.