Did you know that the most common cause of tooth loss in adults is periodontal (gum) disease? Without healthy gums, your teeth won’t have a healthy foundation to keep them stable in the years ahead.
Understanding the symptoms and who to see for treatment can help you save your smile. But who can diagnose periodontal disease and which type of dentist should you see? Can a general dentist treat periodontal disease symptoms or do you need to visit a specialist?
Screening for gum disease starts with your family dentist and hygienist. During your checkup, we’ll take measurements around each tooth to assess your gum attachment levels. We’ll also screen for bone loss on your routine dental X-rays. If you have evidence of bone loss or signs of gum “pockets”, a diagnosis of periodontal disease is likely. If you didn’t already know, periodontitis starts as gingivitis, so good oral hygiene is essential!
Can a general dentist treat periodontal disease? Absolutely. Your general dentist and hygienist will work together to formulate a soft tissue care plan that addresses the source of your infection. Typically, the treatments will include a series of deep cleanings or “scaling and root planing” procedures to remove buildup from the inside of your gum pockets.
Mild to moderate gum disease is almost always treated by your hygienist and general dentist.
What is a periodontist vs. dentist? A general dentist like Dr. Skeens treats all aspects of your oral health concerns. However, if you have aggressive periodontal disease that does not respond to therapy or you’re at a high risk of tooth loss, you may need to see a periodontist. If it’s been years since you’ve seen your hygienist for a cleaning, Dr. Skeens will want to screen for gum disease at your first checkup.
Periodontists are specialists with an additional 2-3 years in soft tissue therapy to treat aggressive gum disease symptoms. If for any reason your tissues are not healing or reconstructive surgery is required, a referral to a periodontist for a consultation is usually advised.
Your dental hygienist is one of the most important dental practitioners to communicate with when you have gum disease or gingivitis symptoms. During your preventative or deep cleaning, your hygienist will discuss how to access at-risk or hard-to-reach areas and keep them clean at home. In turn, you’ll be able to better manage bacterial deposits between appointments, improving your recovery after periodontal treatment is complete. At last but not least, your hygienist will be the practitioner to perform most preventative and therapeutic dental cleanings, including those for gum disease.
Deep cleanings are only one aspect of periodontal therapy. If you have gum recession or tooth mobility, our dentist in Encinitas may recommend bone or soft tissue grafting to help stabilize your teeth. Since periodontal infections can spread to other areas of your mouth, it’s best to address them early.
And most of all, periodontitis puts you at a higher risk for certain medical concerns. Such as high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, and reproductive disorders. When you stabilize the infection inside of your mouth, your entire body benefits.
How do you know if you need to see our hygienist or dentist in Encinitas about a gum infection? Be on the lookout for symptoms like:
If you happen to use tobacco products, it’s important to note that you might not notice swelling, redness, or bleeding in your gums as non-smokers do. Tobacco can mask periodontitis symptoms, so regular screenings are extremely important.
Gum disease doesn’t heal on its own. You need the help of your dentist and hygienist to manage any infections deep below your gumlines. We’ll help you stabilize your tissues before it’s too late. If your gingivitis isn’t improving within two weeks of a dedicated brushing and flossing routine, contact Encinitas Family Dentistry today to reserve an appointment with Dr. Skeens.
Welcome to the Encinitas dental office of Gregory Skeens, JR., DDS. We are your home for caring dental treatment that supports superior oral health and helps you achieve the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. Our modern facility is equipped with cutting-edge technology and our team is here to make your visit enjoyable and relaxing.
We take a truly individualized approach to dentistry, which is why our practice is so popular. After every treatment, Encinitas dentist Dr. Skeens personally makes follow- up phone calls to patients to ensure that they are feeling well. Your comfort and well-being are of ultimate importance.