Periodontics is a recognized dental specialty in Canada that is focused on diagnosing and treating inflammatory diseases affecting the soft tissue of the mouth. A periodontist is a dentist who is specially trained in caring for the supporting structures that surround the teeth.
In addition to attending dental school, periodontists must complete three additional years of training in periodontology.
Periodontists focus on the gums and soft tissue of the mouth, which forms a protective casing around the tooth roots to prevent bacterial buildup. The periodontal ligament, a set of connective tissues that attach the tooth to the alveolar (jaw) bone, is one of the main focuses in periodontology.
Periodontal health is essential to your oral health and overall health. Common periodontal diseases and conditions include gum diseases (such as periodontitis, gingivitis, and thrush). Some of the most serious diseases cause the gums to recede. This can expose the tooth roots, leading to tooth loss, infected teeth, and other painful ailments.
Periodontal diseases can also increase the risk of other health-related issues, including diabetes, heart attack, and dementia, although the connection between them is not fully clear to scientists yet.
Typical symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bright red or discoloured gums
- Swollen or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- White spots on the gums
Periodontists use a wide range of tools and techniques to treat periodontal diseases and abnormalities, including surgical and non-surgical procedures.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling is a non-surgical periodontal treatment used to clean the root surfaces from plaque and tartar. After scaling, root planing helps to smooth out the roots of the tooth so the gums can reattach to the teeth. This treatment is often completed with a local anesthetic.
Gum Graft Surgery
Gum grafting is typically done to extend the gum line after the gums have receded. A small portion of tissue is usually removed from the palate or another donor site and transferred to the site of the graft. The graft covers exposed roots and prevents bone loss and further gum loss.
Dental Crown Lengthening
Dental crown lengthening is a common procedure for people with a “gummy smile.” If your gums are too long, a periodontist can remove part of the gums to expose more of the tooth. This procedure may be done to one, some, or all of the gums. It may also be used to enable a dentist to perform another cosmetic dental procedure or restorative dental procedure.
Placement of Dental Implants
When a patient loses a tooth due to injury, periodontal disease, or another condition, a dental implant may be placed in the mouth to reduce the tooth. Dental implants are fit into the mouth using a metal post that is inserted into the gums. Endosteal implants are surgically placed into the jawbone. Subperiosteal implants are inserted only into the gums.
Due to the impact to the soft tissue, a periodontist typically assists a dentist with the placement of dental implants. Your periodontists will also monitor for peri-implant diseases, which may occur after an implant procedure. Peri-implant diseases cause inflammation in the soft tissue around implants.
Other Treatments for Gum Disease
Other procedures include pocket reduction procedures, plastic surgery, and laser treatments.
- Pocket reduction procedures repair “pockets” that form between the teeth and gums.
- Plastic surgery can cosmetically repair gums that are too high or too low.
- Laser treatments remove infected gum tissue.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Periodontal diseases are often preventable with proper oral care. If you have sore or bleeding gums, be sure to book an appointment with a dentist near you to have your periodontal health assessed. You can also follow a strong dental hygiene routine, including the following steps:
- Brush twice daily with a toothpaste that has fluoride in it.
- Floss daily.
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash.
- Stay up to date on dental hygiene appointments and dental exams.
Periodontists in Canada
123Dentists has a network of dental practices across Canada offering specialized dentistry services. If you are looking for a periodontist in Canada, search the 123Dentist network to find one near you.