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What is a Periodontist?

Houston Periodontist - Dr. Lubritz

A Periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, surgical and non-surgical treatment of diseases and conditions of the periodontium, the tissues that surround teeth and dental implants. This includes the gum and jawbones. Periodontists are experts in the management of patients with periodontal diseases including all forms of gingivitis, periodontitis and gingival recession (gum recession) as well as the placement and maintenance of dental implants.

Periodontics is one of the nine American Dental Association recognized specialties of dentistry. Periodontists now complete 3 years of additional formal training beyond dental school in an accredited residency training program.

The American Academy of Periodontology is the recognized governing academy for periodontics in the USA. 

The word periodontal means “around the tooth”.  Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth.  Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva.  If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar).  When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone.  Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it!  Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy.  Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions.  Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

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Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.