What Is A Phoenix Periodontist?
If you’ve ever wondered what a Periodontist is, why they’re important and how their specialty protects your teeth you can find more that information here. We’ll demystify this important field of dentistry for you and give you a better understanding of the specialty to alleviate any anxiety or concerns that you may have about seeing a Periodontist in Phoenix, AZ.
What Does a Periodontist Do?
A Periodontist is a specialist who deals with gums and the bones underneath which support your teeth. Like our own Dr. Trujillo, a Periodontist trains as a regular dentist first before getting an additional three years of training in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of periodontal disease. Not only do they help to keep gums and their underlying bone structures healthy, they also offer dental implants, and also provide cosmetic solutions to ensure a perfect smile that is free of exposed roots or unsightly receding gum lines.
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General dentists often refer patients to a Periodontist when a severe problem with their 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 Is Periodontal Disease & How Does It Advance?
“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.
Periodontal disease sounds scary, but it’s really just another name for gum disease. A condition which affects over 64 million Americans, including around half of all US adults over the age of 30. It is the #1 cause of tooth loss in the developed world. While regular dental care can keep it at bay, there may be occasions when the intervention and support of a Phoenix Periodontist is necessary.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue which causes the gums to recede, meaning that the gum line climbs upwards away from your teeth. This can prevent your teeth from getting the support they need and is the leading cause of tooth loss. However, your Phoenix Periodontist can help to spot the early signs of gum disease to make sure that tooth loss is avoidable.
There are three stages of periodontal disease:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
After every meal or snack, tiny remnants of the food we eat decompose in our mouths, forming plaque. The longer this plaque is allowed to remain on your teeth, acidic toxins irritate the gum tissue. This causes them to redden, grow puffy and become prone to bleeding. This is gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Thorough brushing and flossing combined with professional cleaning by your dentist is usually all it takes to resolve periodontal disease at this stage.
If, however, gingivitis goes untreated, plaque buildup around and beneath the gums can harden into tartar. Over time, as tartar accumulates, it causes your gums to pull away from the teeth. This forms pockets where more food can collect, creating more bacteria and risk of the more serious infection periodontitis.
Caught early enough, this can be removed through a nonsurgical procedure called scaling and root planing, which removes all tartar from under your gums and smooths out the root surfaces.
However, when periodontitis becomes advanced, pockets caused by tartar can grow too deep or result in too much bone loss. In this instance, surgery may be required to save you from the possibility of tooth loss.
Why Do I Need To See A Phoenix Periodontist?
If your dentist has referred you to a Phoenix Periodontist, it’s likely that they have detected the signs of periodontal disease and want to ensure that you get the very best care from an expert with advanced training that your dentist may not have.
A periodontist can help in a number of ways, even if your dentist has identified an advanced case of periodontitis. Their help can help to save your teeth with a number of solutions:
- Dental Implant: A dental 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Scaling and Root Planing: This procedure helps by removing the accumulated tartar, plaque and bacteria between the gums and teeth so they can heal.
- 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.
What To Expect On Your First Visit
We don’t believe in one-size fits all solutions, which is why Dr. Trujillo and your general dentist will work together to develop a treatment plan that’[s designed with your unique needs in mind.
During the first visit, Dr. Trujillo will take the time to review your full dental and medical history. The better we know you, the better we can care for you, and your Phoenix Periodontist will need to know about any medications or medical conditions (such as pregnancy, diabetes or heart disease) which could interfere with periodontal care.
Next, Dr. Trujillo carries out a full dental examination to check for gum recession and loose teeth, as well as ensuring that the teeth come together properly 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.
How to Prevent Poor Periodontal Health
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.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
If you are looking for a periodontist in the Phoenix area, then please reach out to us and schedule an appointment. 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, please let us know and we will be happy to help you. We look forward to your visit!
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.