We hear a lot about the dangers of cavities. But did you know there’s an even greater threat to your smile? Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in America. That’s why you need to be vigilant in your efforts to counteract all threats to your gums in order to ensure that your teeth last a lifetime.
A periodontist is a dentist who is trained to have a particular “focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the gums, as well as other structures that support the teeth.” Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA will only recognize a specialty when it is determined that it covers “advanced knowledge and skills are essential to maintain or restore oral health.”
Here’s a list of the eight specialty fields of dentistry besides periodontics which are recognized and approved by the Council on Dental Education and Licensure of the ADA:
Dental public health—study and promotion of good practices that support dental care programs and the prevention of dental diseases
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology—study and treatment of medical conditions that affect the maxillofacial region, which includes the upper jaw and face
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery—diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries which affect the maxillofacial region
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics—diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of malocclusion and other issues related to misalignment between teeth
Endodontics—study and treatment of issues related to dental “pulp,” the living tissue inside the tooth
Prosthodontics—design, manufacture, and fitting of artificial replacements of teeth and other parts of the mouth
Pediatric Dentistry—dental care for children until they reach adolescence
Your regular dentist is qualified to treat gum disease, but if you have a serious condition that requires extensive care, your dentist might refer you to a periodontist. This is because a periodontist is “a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease.”
Periodontal disease, often referred to as gum disease, is caused by the bacteria which grows inside the plaque and tartar which forms on your teeth. The best way to prevent gum disease is to actively remove this plaque and tartar. An effective strategy for fighting gum disease involves practicing a regimen of good oral care which includes daily brushing and flossing and regular dental checkups.
In its early stage, gums disease is called gingivitis. At this point the gum disease can usually be treated by your regular dentist. However, if gum disease advances to periodontitis, it becomes a much more serious condition. At this point, your dentist may choose to refer you to a periodontist for additional specialized treatment.
Signs that you may have periodontitis include the following symptoms:
In addition to treating gum disease, periodontists are uniquely qualified to place dental implants. If you have any concerns about the condition of your gums or if you are interested in learning more about what dental implants can do for you, please contact Heartland Periodontal. Michael G. Kirsch and our entire team at Heartland Periodontics is here to serve you in Sebring and the surrounding counties.
Dr. Michael Kirsch
4660 Lakeview Drive
Monday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Tuesday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Wednesday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Thursday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Friday: 8:30AM – 5PM