What's The Difference Between a Periodontist and a Dentist?

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When you schedule an appointment for a routine dental exam or dental cleaning, you probably think you should contact a family dentist. The same goes for when you need tooth pain resolved or may want teeth whitening. However, there are times when a dentist cannot help, and you need the expertise of a periodontist.

At Premier Periodontics, our periodontal specialists provide care at seven locations throughout Washington, including Olympia, Bellevue, Everett, Kirkland, Mercer Island, and Redmond. They have extended training in the soft tissue (gums) and bone. While a general dentist can treat gum disease with cleanings, and scaling and root planing, a periodontist can treat advanced periodontal disease cases that a general dentist cannot.

Understanding when to visit a dentist and when to visit a periodontist

When you’re experiencing dental pain or discomfort, you will want to know which dental professional to visit.

You should visit a dentist if:

  • You need a routine checkup to check your oral health

  • You need your teeth cleaned

  • You need a cavity filled

  • You need a root canal

  • You want x-rays

  • You need a crown to restore a tooth

  • You want a cosmetic dentistry procedure, such as veneers or dental bonding

You should visit the periodontal specialists at Premier Periodontics if:

  • You need a deep cleaning for gum disease

  • You need bone grafting

  • You need root planing

  • You need soft tissue removal

  • You need a crown lengthened

  • You need tissue recontouring for gum recession

Symptoms of periodontal disease

Gum disease can be a silent disease. This is because the symptoms don’t always appear until it has become more advanced. Some common symptoms of periodontal disease in Bellevue, WA include:

  • Pain in the mouth

  • Bleeding, especially when brushing or flossing

  • Swollen, tender, or red gums

  • Separating or loose teeth

  • Gum recession

  • Bad breath

  • Bite changes

When you suspect that you have periodontal disease, contact our periodontist today to schedule an appointment to evaluate your oral health.

Periodontal Disease Treatments

When our periodontist at Premier Periodontics diagnoses you with periodontal disease, they will decide which treatment is best for you. This depends on the severity and stage of periodontal disease you’re at. Treating gum disease early minimizes damage and decreases the need for invasive surgery later on.

Some common periodontal disease treatments we can offer our patients include:

  • Deep dental cleanings: During these cleanings, all plaque or tartar is removed from above and below the gumline. We recommend more frequent dental cleanings to make sure that it doesn’t advance further.

  • Scaling and Root Planing: Scaling and root planing is a nonsurgical deep cleaning procedure that our periodontal specialists in Bellevue, WA conduct while the patient is under local anesthesia. Tartar and plaque are scraped away thoroughly. During the planing portion, we remove rough spots on the tooth root to make them smooth. This helps us remove bacteria and to offer a clean surface for the gums to reattach successfully.

  • Flap Surgery or Pocket Reduction Surgery: For more advanced stages of periodontal disease, surgery by one of our periodontal specialists may be needed. During this surgery, your gums are lifted back so that all tartar can be removed. Next, your gums are placed so that the tissue fits snug. This helps reduce the space between the gum and the tooth.

  • Gum Grafts: When a lot of bone loss occurs, gum grafting may be necessary. We may use a portion of your own bone or synthetic bone to replace any that you have lost due to gum disease.

Learn more about what a periodontist can do for your oral health

When left untreated, periodontal disease will continue to worsen. At Premier Periodontics, we work closely with our patients to make sure that their oral health remains on track. We achieve this through regular dental exams and dental cleanings, and helping them follow an efficient at-home oral hygiene routine. To schedule an appointment with a periodontist at one of our convenient locations in Bellevue, Everett, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Olympia, and Redmond, WA for periodontal disease treatment, call our office today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.