Have you noticed gum problems, such as tender, swollen gums, bleeding when you brush or floss, or sensitivity or pain with hot or cold foods and beverages? If so, you may need a periodontist.
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in gum problems and their treatment. At Ocean View Dental, we are proud to have Board-Certified Periodontist Dr. Pichak Kelk on our team.
Why a periodontist for gum problems?
Problems with your gums usually indicate the presence of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Although, if you have the mildest form of gum disease, called gingivitis, you may not have or notice any symptoms. At this stage, professional teeth cleanings and improved oral hygiene habits should halt and reverse your gum disease.
However, if gingivitis is not properly treated, it progresses to periodontitis. At this point, the gum problems are too deep for a routine professional cleaning. After a thorough examination, Dr. Kelk will recommend a treatment plan based on your symptoms and the extent of your periodontitis.
Usually, the first line of treatment involves deep cleaning, called scaling and root planing. Dr. Kelk will also educate you about gum disease and treatment, including improved home hygiene. In addition, she will most likely bring you back for exams and cleanings more often than twice yearly until the gum disease is under control.
While any general dentist can treat minor periodontitis, there are several clear advantages to seeing a periodontist for gum disease. This is especially true for patients with advanced periodontitis.
Because of their extensive training and knowledge, a periodontist is your best defense against advanced gum problems, such as gum recession and bone and tooth loss.
Since gum disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss, this is an important consideration.
What is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who, after completing dental school, continues their education for an additional three years. During this additional training, they learn in-depth information about the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum problems, as well as issues with the tissues and bone that support the teeth. They also learn all about dental implants, including their placement, maintenance, and repair.
They also become familiar with the latest technology and techniques for treating gum disease, including surgical and cosmetic treatments of the gums.
Going beyond the required training and education to specialize as a periodontist, Dr. Kelk achieved the honor of becoming board certified in periodontology. This important distinction means that Dr. Kelk meets or exceeds all the rigorous requirements and has passed comprehensive examinations in each area of periodontics, as required by the American Board of Periodontology.
It is estimated that only around 10 percent of all periodontists are board-certified, so you can rest assured you are in expert hands with Dr. Kelk.
What treatments can a periodontist perform for gum problems?
Most patients with periodontitis experience excellent resolution of symptoms with deep cleaning, improved oral hygiene, and thorough follow-up and maintenance.
However, patients with advanced periodontitis, especially those who have ignored proper treatment, may require further care.
For instance, gum disease breaks down the tissues and bone that support teeth. Over time, this can lead to tooth loss. For tooth loss, Dr. Kelk can place a dental implant to replace the missing tooth and prevent further bone loss. If needed, Dr. Kelk can also perform a bone graft prior to placing the dental implant.
Other procedures Dr. Kelk performs include:
- Gum surgery for recession or a “gummy smile”
- Pocket reduction surgery
- Gum/connective tissue/soft tissue grafts
- Bone regeneration
- Osseous surgery
- Cosmetic gum surgery
- Laser-assisted periodontal therapy
- Reconstructive surgery that creates bone volume
For gum problems, you should choose a board-certified periodontist for treatment.
Have you noticed loose teeth or receding gums? Do your gums bleed or cause you sensitivity or tenderness? If yes, you’ll want to get treatment before things get worse.
If you are in the San Clemente, CA area, call (949) 388-0780 today to set your appointment with Dr. Kelk, your local expert in gum disease and its treatment.