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What is a periodontist?

1 May 2024

What is a Periodontist?

  • A periodontist is a dentist who has undergone additional training to become a specialist in the supporting structures around teeth and implants. This includes the gums, bone and ligament that surrounds each tooth.

What treatment does a periodontist perform?

A periodontist provides a range of treatments including:

  • Root surface debridement (deep cleaning)
  • Resective gum surgery – to reduce pocket depths around teeth and therefore reduce the risk of plaque accumulation and bone loss.
  • Regenerative surgery – this is where bone grafting is performed to rebuild lost bone around teeth / implants.
  • Crown lengthening – to reduce ‘gummy smiles’ or make teeth appear longer.
  • Recession coverage – using gum grafts to cover exposed tooth root surfaces.

What is the difference between treatment with a hygienist and a periodontist?

  • There is some overlap between treatment provided by a hygienist and a periodontist – both can perform ‘root surface debridement’ (deep cleaning). Periodontists have advanced training in reaching the deeper, very difficult areas to access beneath the gum line. Periodontists also have advanced knowledge in identifying other factors that may be preventing further improvements from deep cleaning – this includes the influence of the biting forces, fillings / crowns on the teeth and a patients medical history.
  • Often treatment will begin by seeing a hygienist and then be referred to a periodontist to try and gain further improvements if needed.

Will treatment hurt?

  • Local anaesthetic is placed prior to treatment to make it comfortable during appointments.
  • There is sometimes some mild soreness after treatment but does not usually require anything more than routine pain relief (e.g paracetamol or ibuprofen).
  • The teeth are sometimes a little more sensitive to hot and cold food / drink after treatment but this is usually short lived.

Do I need a referral to see a Periodontist?

  • It is helpful to have a referral from your regular dentist or hygienist as then can often provide x-rays and let us know what treatment has already been performed, but it is not essential.
  • If you are concerned about your gums contact our reception team or via the website and we will be more than happy to provide you with further details or book a consultation.
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