Should You See a Periodontist?
10 January 2023
Should You See a Periodontist?
Not all dentists are born equal. All dentists have a dentistry degree, but if you want to be specialised, another degree in the area you want to be specialised in is required. For example, a periodontist has a degree specialising in periodontology, which involves examining the structures around the teeth, such as the gums and the bone.
A periodontist treats gum diseases non-surgically and surgically. Surgery can also be performed to treat gum recessions, which is when the gums are receding.
The opposite of that is treating gummy smiles by performing what we call a ‘gum lift’ to look nicer, for personal aesthetic reasons. Sometimes, someone’s smile can reveal a lot of gum so that their lip appears quite high. For people that feel they have extra gum that is interfering with their image, we can perform a gum-lift (which you can see before and after images of on our Instagram).
Here are a few things you should know before deciding whether you should visit a periodontist.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath, which is also known as halitosis, is a result of the bad odours produced by bacteria trapped by the surface of your tongue or within your gum pockets. Bad breath can be embarrassing or even cause anxiety.
There are two causes of bad breath. One cause is tongue coating, which is why tongue cleaning is so important. The other cause of bad breath is gum disease. Even more so, in light of the pandemic, since everyone has their masks on.
How do you know if you have gum disease?
Gum disease is not always visually apparent. Red gums can be a sign of gum disease, but some people’s gums can look completely normal whilst suffering from severe gum disease.
Other telltale signs of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Swelling of the gums
- Poor bone support
Loose teeth are a really important indicator of gum disease. On top of that, swelling of gums and poor bone support may cause the position of teeth to drift and change, and gaps may start opening up between the teeth. Patients don’t always feel pain, but that can also be a sign.
Most people start noticing they might have something wrong when their smile begins to look different.
Can gum disease indicate other health problems?
A recent hot topic is looking into the link between gum disease and general health. Your gums can affect your risk of getting heart disease or otherwise be an indication of diabetes. Your body is intricate and interconnected, so it is not surprising that these links exist as your mouth is connected to your body.
How should you maintain dental care?
More and more young children, as well as young adults in their early twenties, are succumbing to gum disease. This is quite worrying.
As soon as your first teeth come through good dental care is extremely important. Some might think that dummies may be a concern. Dummies for children can affect the growth of teeth but only once the teeth start developing. It does not have a significant effect on the gums.
Instead, there should be more education on how to brush your teeth as people are not completely aware of how they should really be doing it. It is not as easy as some might think. Though, there are some quite simple things you should know, such as using a toothpaste that contains fluoride and ensuring you are brushing well and thoroughly.
Once the baby teeth fall out, flossing is a habit that is important to maintain as soon as your adult teeth start to come in. It is important to floss as soon as possible. The best tool for flossing for adults is interdental brushes. These are brushes that are designed to be used in between your teeth. It is more effective than flossing so it is the method that we promote to our patients, especially those with gum disease.
Whilst some might believe that adding toothpaste to your interdental brush would prove more effective it is not necessary. You can use it plain, then wash it each time you use it. However, it is important to replace the brushes every few days.
If you have healthy gums, then you should have your teeth for life. The common stereotype is that you lose your teeth when you age. However, we have a lot of patients who are in their 80s who still have healthy teeth, and the current generation also have expectations to keep their teeth for life.
Getting into good habits from an early age is critical for reaping the long-term benefits. Gum disease is preventable, therefore it makes sense that maintaining good habits serves as a preventative measure to actually getting gum disease.
When should you see a periodontist?
Whether you should see a periodontist depends on the level of risk. Gum disease patients normally need to see a good hygienist every three months. Whilst gum disease is preventable, it is not something that can really be cured but instead stabilised.
Regardless of whether you need care every three months or six months, it is advisable that everyone refers to professionals for their hygiene and cleaning from the very beginning and consistently if they want to maintain their dental care.
Do you need to see a specialist clinic?
If a patient does not think they have gum disease but wants to refer to a good hygienist under a specialist clinic, they can book a hygienist directly. The treatment that follows is called Polish and Perfect.
This treatment has three tiers.
The investment for this treatment is £250. The patient receives an assessment and tailored oral hygiene instructions. They also receive a full mouth cleanse using airflow, which removes any stains that a normal hygienist scale and polish wouldn’t do.
Polish and Perfect Maintenance
The investment for this is £200, which is more cost-effective after the patient has already been to our practice once for their initial assessment. They can continue with the maintenance of their dental care.
Polish and Perfect Whitening
This is a tier we have recently introduced. This is for people who now have healthy teeth and gums but can moreover invest in the appearance of their smile. The whitening package is £595.
Make sure to read our other blogs for more information.