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What is a periodontist? Do I need to see one?

A periodontist specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease, as well as dental implant placement. All periodontists are general dentists, but they receive additional training for three years after dental school to obtain the necessary education to perform procedures in periodontics. Your general dentist may refer you to a periodontist if you exhibit the symptoms of gum disease; however, you may schedule an appointment on your own if you have concerns about your oral health.

What is periodontal disease, and am I at risk of developing it?
The term “periodontal” simply means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease affects the gums, ligament and bones supporting the teeth. Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is mainly attributed to the bacteria in dental plaque, which causes the gums to become inflamed and infected. Other factors, such as smoking or tobacco use, uncontrolled diabetes, poor nutrition, stress or pregnancy, may put you at risk of developing gum disease.
Is periodontal disease contagious?
Periodontal disease is not a contagious disease. The main cause of gum/periodontal disease is bacteria in dental plaque and it is seen in individuals who have a high susceptibility to it reflected in their positive family history of gum disease, uncontrolled medical conditions, poor dental hygiene, high levels of stress and habits including smoking. We recommend being screened for periodontal disease regularly if you are potentially at risk.
My gums bleed when I brush my teeth. Is this normal?

Healthy gums should not bleed when you brush your teeth. This is one of the early signs of gum disease. You should schedule an appointment with your periodontist for a complete periodontal screening.

Are there any ways to prevent periodontal disease?

A good oral hygiene regimen is imperative in preventing periodontal disease. Proper brushing and flossing, in conjunction with regular dental visits for professional cleanings as prescribed by your doctor for your needs, will help keep your smile healthy for life.

Are dental implants the best restoration option?

Your periodontist can determine if dental implants are your best restoration option for your individual case. Dental implants have a natural look and feel and can help prevent shifting of surrounding teeth. Implants are often preferred to bridges and dentures because they are more secure and can help prevent bone loss.

If I have periodontal disease, do I need surgery? What are my options?
Whether you need surgery or not will depend on how advanced your periodontal disease is. There are non-surgical treatments, such as root scaling and planing available, for those with mild, moderate and even severe gum disease. If you are in the advanced stages of gum disease, in certain circumstances you may benefit from having gum surgery. With the latest technology and advanced techniques available today, many surgical procedures can be performed in an office setting with little discomfort.
What is maintenance therapy?
Maintenance therapy is used once the periodontal disease is stable, to help minimise the risk of further relapse of the condition and for gum disease from recurring in patients who have already received periodontal treatment. Your periodontist will tailor a program to fit your needs, which will include periodontal checkups, plaque and tartar removal and sometimes polishing your teeth or checking your bite. The frequency of visits varies from case to case, from every few weeks to three to four times per year.
I have a ″gummy″ smile. What can be done to correct this?

A procedure called crown lengthening can correct “gummy” smiles. “Gummy” smiles make teeth appear too short. With crown lengthening, the gums and supporting tissues are reshaped to expose more of the tooth.

My gums are receding and my teeth appear "long". Can this be fixed?
If left untreated, gum recession may lead to tooth loss. Soft tissue grafts can fix this condition and also minimise the risk of further recession or bone loss. In the procedure, gum tissue is taken from your palate or another donor source. This tissue is then placed over the exposed roots, which helps to even out the gum line and reduce sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
Do I really have to go to the dentist every six months? Do I need x-rays at each visit?
Yes, it is highly recommended that everyone should go for a dental check up at general dentist every six months. X-rays at regular interval are done to assess changes in both teeth and tooth supporting bone.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
A child needs to see a dentist for a general dental check up once the “baby” teeth have started to erupt so that they are introduced to dental care early on in life. The dentist can monitor issue such as nursing bottle cavities, tooth eruption patterns and implement various preventive strategies to help prevent dental cavities and gum issues.

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