When it comes to oral health, many of us know that we should visit our dentist every six months for a cleaning, but what about a periodontist? Generally speaking, patients should typically consider scheduling appointments every 3 to 6 months, depending on their diagnosis. However, the schedule depends on your specific diagnosis or, in the case of dental implants, your maintenance needs.
Why schedule regular periodontist appointments?
Much like any wellness check, a regularly scheduled periodontist checkup is vital to your overall health and plays a significant role in managing periodontal disease. The same is true if you have dental implants, which require regular maintenance to ensure long-term success. Because periodontal issues are not always readily visible or apparent, regular visits can help your physician identify any developing or progressing issues.
But what about your regular dentist appointment? Isn’t that enough preventative care? Dentists and periodontists both focus on your oral health, but significant issues exist between the two.
Your dentist focuses primarily on the tooth itself. Their expertise is often considered the first line of defense in oral care. In addition to performing regular cleanings, they also identify and treat cavities as well as other common tooth maladies. Your dentist may also be the first to identify potential periodontal issues and recommend that you seek the care of a periodontist.
A periodontist, on the other hand, is a specialty physician that focuses on the soft tissue surrounding your teeth (e.g., gums) and the jawbone. Periodontists are skilled at diagnosing and treating issues like gum disease and gingivitis. They are trained to properly place, maintain, and repair dental implants, either for medical or cosmetic purposes.
Both physicians are important to your oral health. But if you are exhibiting signs of or are already diagnosed with periodontal disease, it’s wise to schedule regular appointments with a periodontist. Failure to do so can delay diagnosis and treatment. You can also jeopardize the work you’ve had done, including any dental implants.
When to see a periodontist
Once you visit your periodontist, they can help you determine the best visitation schedule for your diagnosis and oral care needs. But what if you aren’t currently under the care of a periodontist? These symptoms may signal that it’s time to schedule an appointment:
- Bleeding or inflamed gums: Bleeding and/or swollen gums are often the first sign of a problem. If you notice that your gums are frequently bleeding after eating or brushing, then it may be time to seek out a specialist.
- Gum recession: There are many reasons why your gums may wear away, but the result is often a gap between your gums and your teeth. The resulting gap can lead to tooth sensitivity and create a perfect environment for bacteria growth and future tooth problems. Gum recession is common, but it’s not something you want to ignore.
- Loose teeth: Advanced gum recession or diseases that affect the jawbone can lead to tooth loss, the first sign of which may be a wiggling tooth. If you notice a loose tooth, you should immediately see a specialist.
- Pre-existing conditions: Some individuals are more prone to periodontal disease. That is particularly true for those who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, or osteoporosis. If you’ve been diagnosed with one of those conditions, a trip to the periodontist can help you prevent problems.
A periodontist appointment may not be on your list of regularly scheduled wellness visits, but regular visits can help you avoid painful, embarrassing, or otherwise costly problems in the future. If you already are under the care of a periodontist, make it a point to discuss the appropriate visitation schedule and stick to the plan. Not currently seeing a periodontist? If you have an existing dental implant or are experiencing any of the symptoms above, then it’s a good idea to set up an appointment.
Dr. Fred Bonacci, D.M.D. knows your oral health is important to your overall health. With nearly two decades of experience in Periodontal Medicine and Dental implants, he has helped thousands of patients by providing them with the individualized care they need and deserve. If you’re concerned about your oral health, Dr. Bonacci works with you to determine the best path to a happy and healthy smile. Contact him today to set up your consultation.