When Should You See a Periodontist?

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Often, people confuse the work of a dentist with that of a  periodontist. If you’ve had occasion to visit both, then you know that they are unique doctors who treat very different conditions. Simply put, a dentist is a patient’s first point of contact for dental check-ups and cleanings. In the event that a dentist finds symptoms of gingivitis or progressing periodontal disease, he or she will likely recommend a consultation with a periodontist, whose role is to diagnose, treat and prevent further infections and diseases of the soft tissue surrounding the teeth and the jawbone that could potentially lead to gum disease or tooth loss. In other cases, patients may opt to visit a periodontist for cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, such as dental implants, gum depigmentation and aesthetic crown lengthening.

If you are in need of periodontal services, Dr. Aalam and Dr. Krivitsky are available to provide a variety of cosmetic, therapeutic and reconstructive periodontal services in the comfort of their West Los Angeles office. Feel free to make an appointment so that Dr. Aalam or Dr. Krivitsky can devise a solid treatment plan for you.

What Is a Periodontist?

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal diseases (gum disease) such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Services a periodontist may offer include:  deep gum cleaning and other root therapies; tooth extraction; placement of implants (artificial teeth); cosmetic dental procedures; and surgery to the jaw bones. In terms of education, a periodontist is a certified DDS who has 3 – 4 additional years of education, specializing in tooth and gum conditions and diseases.

Both professors at the USC School of Dentistry, Dr. Aalam and Dr. Krivitsky utilize the most advanced treatment options to help their patients. It is their goal to ensure all patients enjoy a gentle and painless dental experience.

Periodontist vs. Dentist

Patients typically see a general dentist for regular teeth cleanings every six months. Dentists identify cavities and more serious conditions with x-rays. However, your dentist may refer you to a specialist if he cannot properly treat your condition.

One of these specialists may be a periodontist. A periodontist specializes in the areas that surround the teeth, including bone and tissue. In the case of Dr. Aalam and Dr. Krivitsky, their mission is to help treat and prevent gum disease and tooth loss.

The differences between a dentist and periodontist are easily illustrated by the treatment of a condition like gum disease. Dentists are sometimes capable of, and routinely treat, mild forms of gum disease. However, if the gum disease has progressed to a more complicated stage, dentists may refer their patients to specialists for more in-depth assessments. People who are at a higher risk of developing gum disease may also need to see a periodontist for further evaluation and treatment.

When to See a Periodontist?

If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it is important that you schedule an appointment with a periodontist without delay:

Bleeding while eating or brushing – Unexplained bleeding while consuming food or during the course of daily cleaning is one of the most common signs of periodontal infection.

Bad breath – Continued halitosis (bad breath) that persists even when a rigorous oral hygiene program is in place can be indicative of periodontitis, gingivitis or the beginnings of an infection in the gum tissue.

Loose teeth and gum recession – Longer looking teeth can signal recession of the gums and bone loss due to periodontal disease. As this disease progresses and attacks the jawbone (the anchor holding the teeth in place), the teeth may become loose or be lost all together.

Related health conditions – Heart disease, diabetes, osteopenia and osteoporosis are highly correlated with periodontitis and periodontal infections.  Pre-term low birth weight babies may also be linked to an untreated periodontal condition. The bacterial infection can spread through the blood stream and affect other parts of the body.

Dental Implants 

A recent study in the Journal of Oral Implantology reveals that the success of dental implants is at least partially determined by the number of surgeries the doctor previously performed. Patients interested in getting dental implants may also want to schedule an appointment with a board-certified periodontist like Dr. Aalam or Dr. Krivitsky to guarantee a great dental outcome.

Call for Periodontal Services

Dr. Aalam and Dr. Krivitsky are the only board-certified periodontists in the Brentwood area. To receive the most innovative techniques and the latest technology in periodontal care, call our office today at (310) 299-8329 for an appointment.

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