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When to see a Periodontist

A periodontist is a dentist specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infections and diseases in the soft tissues surrounding the teeth, and the jawbone to which the teeth are anchored. Periodontists have to train an additional three years beyond the four years of regular dental school, and are familiar with the most advanced techniques necessary to treat periodontal disease and to replace missing teeth with dental implants. Periodontists also perform a vast range of cosmetic procedures to enhance the smile to its fullest extent.

Periodontal disease begins when the toxins found in plaque start to attack the soft or gum tissue surrounding the teeth. This bacterium embeds itself in the gum and rapidly breeds, causing a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, it starts to burrow deeper into the tissue causing inflammation or irritation between the teeth and gums. The response of the body is to destroy the infected tissue, causing gum pockets or gum recessions. The resulting pockets between the teeth deepen and if no treatment is sought, the tissue which makes up the jawbone also recedes causing unstable teeth and tooth loss.

Referrals from General Dentists and Self Referral

There are several ways treatment from a periodontist may be sought. In the course of a regular dental check-up, if the general dentist or hygienist finds symptoms of gingivitis or periodontal bone loss, a consultation with a periodontist may be recommended. However, a referral is not necessary for a periodontal consultation. You may contact us at any time if you have questions or would like to schedule an initial consultation or appointment.

If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it is important that you schedule an appointment with a periodontist without delay:

Bleeding while eating or brushing
Unexplained bleeding while consuming food or during the course of daily cleaning is one of the most common signs of periodontal infection.
Bad breath
Continued halitosis (bad breath) which persists even when a rigorous oral hygiene program is in place, can be indicative of periodontitis, gingivitis or the beginnings of an infection in the gum tissues.
Loose teeth and gum recession
Longer looking teeth can signal recession of the gums and bone loss due to periodontal disease. As this disease progresses and attacks the jawbone, (the anchor holding the teeth in place) the teeth may become loose or be lost.
Related health conditions
Heart disease, diabetes, osteopenia and osteoporosis are highly correlated with periodontitis and periodontal infections. The bacteria infection can spread through the blood stream and affect other parts of the body.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Before initiating any dental treatment, the periodontist must extensively examine the gums, jawbone and general condition of the teeth. When gingivitis or periodontal disease is officially diagnosed, the periodontist has a number of options available to treat the underlying infection, halt the recession of the soft tissue, and restructure or replace teeth which may be missing.

Gingivitis/mild periodontal disease
When the gum pockets exceed 4mm in depth, the periodontist or hygienist may perform scaling and root planing to remove debris from the pockets and allow them the opportunity to heal. Education and advice will be provided for an effective cleaning regime thereafter.
Moderate periodontal disease
If the gum pockets reach 4-5mm in length a more extensive scaling and root planning cleaning might be required. This cleaning is usually performed under local anesthetic.
Advanced periodontal disease
Gum pockets in excess of 5-7mm are usually accompanied by bone loss and gum recession. The periodontist may recommend non-surgical or surgical treatment to reduce pocket depth.
Tooth loss
Where one or several teeth are missing, dental implants are a wonderful option for tooth replacement. If the bone is strong enough to provide a suitable anchor for the prosthetic tooth, the implant can be placed. However, if the bone is severely eroded, bone can be recreated by the periodontist to provide a suitable anchor for the new tooth/teeth.
Contact Periodontal Associates in the Denver Colorado area if you have questions about periodontal disease, periodontal treatment or dental implants.

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  • phil johnsonphil johnson

    Had a graft done by Dr Verseman (probably misspelled) He was understanding and compassionate. The graft was successful and the after care was great. I just started doing regular cleanings here and am happy to be cleaned by Alison. Thanks Guys!!!

  • Barbara SalesBarbara Sales

    I highly recommend Dr. Heller and everyone associated with Periodontal Associates. From the moment I walked in, through the entire several month process of receiving a dental implant, I was made to feel totally comfortable. As a somewhat nervous patient, this was so important to me! Every step of the process was explained to me and my questions were welcomed and answered. Dr. Heller is very personable, extremely competent, and thoughtful. I’m so grateful that I was referred to him, and I’m very happy with my implant.

  • Brian HurstBrian Hurst

    I had three grafts here and they did an fantastic job. Super informative on the procedure prior took good care that I was not in any pain and were great with the follow up and post op care. I would highly recommend them!!!

  • Carly KosikCarly Kosik

    The staff here is outstanding, both friendly and adept. I had a great experience and would highly recommend them to family and friends.

  • Tom MargenauTom Margenau

    The staff and Dr Heller made me feel comfortable. Everything went smoothly and I'm happy with the results. Thank you all.

  • Melissa H.Melissa H.

    Let's be honest here - there is nothing fun about having gum surgery. However, the staff and Dr. Heller were as good as it gets with regard to my treatment....

  • Lynne K.Lynne K.

    I've been seen by Dr Beckmann since he joined the practice. I know he and his staff truly care about their patients and their dental health. Very...

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