When should I see a periodontist?

There are several conditions that might require a visit to the periodontist. Periodontists like Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis are specialists in the treatment of gum disease and problems affecting the tissue surrounding the teeth. Your general dentist might recommend seeing a periodontist for any of these conditions:

  • Early signs of periodontal disease

If you notice that your gums are red or swollen, or if you see bleeding when you brush and floss, a visit to your dentist is in order. He or she can let you know if you need to schedule a trip to the periodontist, or if you can be treated by your regular dentist.

  • Receding gums

When gums recede, your teeth experience not only more sensitivity, but also possible bone and tissue loss. Periodontists are skilled in treating gum recession with gum grafts and regeneration therapy if required.

  • Pain when eating or sensitivity to heat and cold

These symptoms could be a sign that pockets have formed in the gum tissue as periodontal disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. Pockets around the teeth can hold bacteria, leading to infection, or expose parts of the root, leading to tooth sensitivity.

  • Your bite has shifted or you notice loose teeth

As gum disease progresses, the gums pull away from the teeth, leaving the bone and connective tissue exposed to infection. Infection can cause loss of the bone structure supporting the teeth, leading to loose teeth or a change in your normal bite.

  • If you are considering a dental implant

Periodontists will make sure the underlying bone is healthy and has enough density for an implant, can build up the bone if necessary with augmentation procedures, and will place the implant in the bone.

Finally, if you smoke, have a family history of gum disease, or have a systemic disease such as diabetes or heart disease, an evaluation by a periodontist is a good idea. Often, the early stages of periodontal disease are invisible. Frequent checkups with your regular dentist will help prevent periodontal disease before it develops. And if your general dentist recommends an evaluation at our San Mateo, CA office, rest assured that you will be treated by a doctor with the training and knowledge necessary to help you to the best possible outcome for both your smile and your overall health!

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