What Is a Periodontist and How Do They Help Keep Teeth Healthy?

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A periodontist in Chicago is a dentist who specializes in diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases and disorders affecting the gums and the tissues that support the teeth. They also educate patients on how to prevent gum disease.

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is gum disease, and it is characterized by inflammation of the gums. It is a common condition that is generally caused by poor dental hygiene. The earliest and mildest stage of gum disease is often caused by gingivitis since it affects only the part of the gum surrounding the teeth. As gum disease worsens, it spreads to other tissues like the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone.

Gum disease can cause such symptoms as red or purple gums that are also swollen and tender, pus between the teeth and gums, loose teeth, and bad breath. Untreated gum disease can eventually cause tooth loss.

Severe gum disease will require surgery, while milder cases can be treated by a thorough dental cleaning followed by dental scaling and root planing. In dental scaling, the periodontist in Chicago uses manual or ultrasonic instruments to remove plaque and tartar. Dental scaling is the most common non-surgical treatment for gum disease. In root planing, the dentist uses the same kind of tools to reach inside the gums and clean the roots of the tooth. The dentist will often numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic beforehand.

What is periodontal maintenance?

Periodontal maintenance is a customized treatment program for patients who have either recovered from gum disease or have a higher than average risk of developing it. The latter group includes people who smoke, patients with diabetes, and individuals who take certain prescription medications.

A patient following the periodontal maintenance program will periodically visit their dentist for any of the following services:

  • Oral exam and X-rays
  • Measurement of gum pockets around the teeth
  • Removal of any plaque or tartar
  • Discussion of the patient’s health
  • Prescription of medications to treat problems like tooth sensitivity

Contact our professionals at South Loop Dental Specialists to schedule an appointment with a periodontist in Chicago.

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