Do I Need a Periodontist?

The truth is over 50% of the population above age 35 has some form of periodontal disease.

If you have never had a periodontal evaluation or it has been a while since you have seen a dentist, and you are older than 35, you should call a periodontist today for an appointment. It might just save your life!

I am not sure I need a periodontist; can’t I just see a general dentist?
Regular examinations are very important to keep track of the present status of your mouth and your dental health. Your periodontist will work with you to create a maintenance schedule depending on what your specific needs are. This will be based on many variable factors such as your overall health and other risk factors such as smoking, genetics, reproductive issues, cancer, lupus, and diabetes. Your periodontist will constantly tailor your care so your mouth stays healthy. He or she may recommend exams every six months for mild gingivitis (redness), or every few months for more advanced dental needs.

Other than diagnose and treatment of gum disease, what else have periodontists been trained to do?
Most periodontists spend the majority of their time treating gum disease, but there are a variety of other procedures that they are able to perform. Periodontists place dental implants when natural teeth cannot be saved. They also monitor the implants to make sure that they’re properly doing their job. Periodontists may also correct gum recession and cover up exposed root surfaces, which can be unsightly as well as sensitive to hot and cold. These procedures are often used to lay the foundation for additional cosmetic procedures to help create a beautiful smile. Finally, periodontists can be integral in the comprehensive planning of your oral care, along with your general dentist or other dental professionals. Their goal is for you to KEEP YOUR TEETH FOR A LIFETIME.

What if I have missing teeth?
Missing teeth will affect the look of your face. Not only will your smile be affected by the gaps from missing teeth, but if you’re missing too many teeth, the skin around your mouth won’t be supported properly and will start to sag, making you appear older than you are. Additionally, missing teeth will make it more difficult to chew your food properly and may even affect the way you speak. If you are currently missing any of your teeth, consider replacing them with dental implants, which can look and feel just like natural teeth.

I have big gums and short teeth, so when I smile you can almost only see my gums. Is there a way to improve my smile?
Is there a way to improve my smile? Yes, there may be a way to enhance your smile. It’s a good idea to discuss your options with a periodontist first. He or she can explain the best way to create the smile you want, as well as answer any questions that you may have. For example, one procedure that can remove excess gum tissue is called crown lengthening.

After the excess gum tissue is removed, the gum line is then reshaped in order to create the right proportion between gum tissue and tooth surface.

What can I do at home to prevent periodontal disease?
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to take good care of your teeth and gums at home. This includes brushing your teeth after every meal and before bedtime, flossing at least once each day, and seeing your dentist or periodontist for regular exams twice a year. Spending a few minutes a day on preventative measures may save you the time and money of treating periodontal disease.

 

 

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Karl Smith
Dr. Karl Smith has been in dental practice for over thirty-four years. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1981 and immediately entered General Practice in the US Air Force Dental Corps. He successfully completed three additional years of advanced education in the specialty of Periodontics with additional training in IV Sedation and Dental Implants in 1992, at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. He won the John Pritchard Prize for outstanding research which included looking for a vaccine against bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Dr. Smith completed a Master of Business Administration degree with a Certificate in Health Services Management while working full time as a Periodontist. In his free time Dr. Smith enjoys traveling nationally and internationally. He is an expert skier and enjoys playing other sports including tennis. Family time with his five children and many grandchildren is also very important to him. Dr. Smith's team describes him as a dentist with superpowers! They know that when he speaks with his patients, he does so with a great deal of care and concern, and because he has a genuine desire to improve their lives and smiles! Dr. Smith is a member of many dental organizations including the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology.