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What Is a Periodontist?

Periodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on the gums and other structures that support the teeth. Periodontists start by receive the same training as general dentists. After dental school, periodontists have three additional years of education where they are trained in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of periodontal disease (also known as gum disease). Aside from being specialists in treating oral inflammation, periodontists are also trained in cosmetic periodontal procedures. Dr. Trujillo is at the forefront of current techniques for treating periodontal disease.

What Does a Periodontist Do?

Dental Implants

If you're having problems with your gums, jawbone, or periodontal ligaments, you probably need the services of a periodontist.

General dentists often refer patients to a periodontist when a severe problem with the gums arises, like periodontal disease. Dr. Trujillo and your general dentist work together to develop a treatment plan to fix problems relating to the gums, which ultimately enhances overall health.

During the first visit, the Dr. Trujillo will review the patient’s full dental and medical history. A periodontist must know if the patient is taking any medications that could interfere with periodontal care or if they have heart disease, diabetes or are pregnant. Next, Dr. Trujillo will do a full dental examination to check for gum recession and loose teeth, and to see how well the teeth come together when biting. X-rays might be taken to assess the health of the bone underneath the gum line. Dr. Trujillo may also use a small probe to measure the depth of the pocket between the teeth and gums. These are called periodontal pockets and aid the periodontist in determining gum health.

What Exactly Is Periodontal Disease?

“Peri” means around and “odontal” signifies teeth. Periodontal disease refers to an infection in the structures around the teeth. These structures include the cementum which covers the tooth root, the periodontal ligament, the alveolar bone, and the gums.

There are three stages of periodontal disease:

  1. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums due to a buildup of plaque around the gum line. If a daily brushing and flossing regimen isn’t in place to remove the plaque, it creates toxins that will aggravate the gum tissue causing gingivitis.
  2. Periodontitis is the stage at which the bone and fibers that support the teeth are damaged. This can be seen if the gums form a pocket underneath the gum line, trapping bacteria and food.
  3. Advanced periodontitis is the state at which the fiber and bone supporting the teeth are ruined. This will cause teeth to loosen and shift, ultimately affecting one’s ability to bite and chew. If the teeth cannot be preserved at this point, they may need to be removed.

If caught at an early stage, gum disease can be reversed. If you are experiencing any of the following signs contact Dr. Trujillo: puffy, swollen, red, bleeding, or tender gums; consistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth; excessive recession, or gums that have pulled away from your teeth.

Who should see a Periodontist?

Periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world. Because periodontal disease has become such a common problem among adults, Arizona Periodontal Group has sought certification in advanced treatments to halt and reverse many of its symptoms. Dr. Trujillo is well versed in the latest procedures.

Patients that need the following treatments should see a periodontist:

  1. Dental Implant: An implant is a titanium post that connects with the jaw bone to work as an anchor in order for a tooth to be placed on top.
  2. Bone Grafting: For a dental implant to be properly placed, sufficient bone is necessary to create a solid anchor. Bone grafts are placed in the jawbone to encourage sufficient bone growth.
  3. Pinhole Surgical Technique: In cases of extreme recession or exposed tooth roots, the gum tissue can be gently stretched back into place. The Pinhole Surgical Technique is only performed by a small number of dentists.
  4. Scaling and Root Planing: This procedure removes accumulated bacteria between the gums and teeth, allowing them to heal.
  5. Gingivoplasty and Osteoplasty: Involves the surgical reshaping and recontouring of the bone or gums to correct any weaknesses and ultimately improve the physical appearance of the teeth and gums.

If you have been consistent in your daily at home oral care and have had annual visits to your dentist, it is less likely that you will need to see a periodontist. Daily oral care includes brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. If your oral history does not include smoking or use of any tobacco products, your likelihood of needing to visit a periodontist for gum issues decreases significantly.

If you are looking for a periodontist in the Phoenix area, contact Dr. Trujillo. At Arizona Periodontal Group, we understand that proper oral health is connected to overall health. If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal issues or procedures, we are here to help you.

Start your day with a beautiful smile.

When you visit our office, your oral health is our top priority. Dr. Trujillo and his entire team is dedicated to providing you with the personalized, gentle care that you deserve.