female dental patient pointing to her x-ray

What Does a Periodontist Do?

Team Periodontist

A periodontist is a dentist with years of additional Specialty training in the support structures for teeth and implants. Periodontics focuses on the treatment of gum and jaw issues that allow for long-term esthetics and function of your teeth. When teeth can no longer be reasonably be retained, the periodontist is qualified to place dental implants to restore lost function of the teeth.  A periodontist has completed all of the requirements of a dentist with additional years of training in periodontics through an approved residency program. 

All that said, what does a periodontist actually do? Here’s a comprehensive list of the services a periodontist provides. 

Periodontal Services 

  • Treat and Prevent Gum Disease. The most common condition a periodontist treats is gum disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria in the mouth causes an infection in the gums. This happens when plaque builds up on the teeth and under the gum line. This infection may not cause pain but can result in support loss around the teeth.  This infection can cause an increasing gap between the gums and tooth and/ or recession. Many people will have gum disease at some point in their lives. There are l procedures that a periodontist can perform to treat and prevent it. 
  • Scaling and Root Planing. One of the procedures that a periodontist can do to treat and prevent gum disease is a combination treatment called scaling and root planing. These two procedures are typically performed together. Scaling is the removal of plaque and calculus (hardened plaque) from the teeth and under the gums. After this is removed, root planing is a procedure that smooths out the surface of the teeth below the gums to remove any small pockets where plaque and bacteria can collect. This can help cure gum disease and keep it from recurring. 
  • Dental Implant Placement. If you need one or more teeth replaced, a dental implant can be placed by a periodontist. A dental implant is an artificial tooth and root. It consists of a titanium post that is surgically placed in the jaw bone. The implant fuses with the bone and once it is solidified, a crown is attached to the top. Periodontists perform dental implant procedures because they specialize in the health of the support structures for the teeth, which includes the jaw. Dental implants can help preserve bone health in the jaw by preventing bone loss that can occur when a tooth is missing. 
  • Bone Regeneration. When significant amount of bone loss occurs around a tooth, the periodontist can apply regenerative materials to aid the body to regrow the lost support. If tooth loss occurs, the bone may be too weak or thin to support a dental implant. The periodontist can address this issue to develop the needed bone to allow for implant therapy. One option is a bone graft procedure, which involves surgically placing a bone materials under the gums on top of the existing bone. This not only can thicken the existing bone, but it can encourage regrowth/  regeneration of the bone. In the upper jaw a sinus lift procedure is sometimes done to thicken and regenerate the bone to allow implant therapy where the sinus is low. 
  • Crown Lengthening. This procedure involves removing some of the gum  and support tissues in order to expose more tooth material. This is sometimes done for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of a person’s smile. Other times it is necessary in order to place a crown over an existing tooth. 
  • Ridge Preservation. Similar to a bone regeneration procedure, the purpose of ridge preservation is to thicken the jaw bone in preparation for a dental implant. Filler materials are placed into an extracted tooth socket which will help to maintain the height and width of the bone which would typically be lost without this treatment.
  • Gum Grafting.  The periodontist can perform several different approaches to address receding gums to prevent further support loss or improve the esthetics.  Tissue can be utilized from the patient directly to resolve the recession or donor material can be used dependent on the particular needs of the situation.

Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry

Dr. M. Gordon and the team at Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry provide the above periodontal services and much more. If you’re in need of a specific type of periodontal procedure, we can take care of your immediate need and provide maintenance going forward to preserve the health of your gums and jaw. 

Call 732-389-3400 to schedule a Consultation at our Eatontown office or call 732-364-2025 for our Howell office. You can also request an appointment at whichever location is more convenient for you. We look forward to helping you maintain your oral health.