A periodontist is a dental professional who specializes in the care and treatment of the gum tissues. And while they may complete some of the same treatments as your general dentist, there are situations where it is best to seek out the expertise of a periodontist. Keep reading to learn about a few of these situations.
You Have A Heart Condition
If you have congestive heart failure, if you have coronary artery disease, or if you have gone through a cardiac valve replacement surgery, then it is wise to see a periodontist. This is especially true if you have a history of gingivitis or more advanced gum disease. Unfortunately, bacteria in the mouth can directly access the heart. Specifically, the venous return from the mouth directly enters the right side of the heart. If bacteria travel through the blood and into the organ, an infection can develop. For people who are already susceptible to infections and have already developed heart damage, this can result in serious and permanent damage to the heart.
Even if bacteria do not spread directly to the heart, they can trigger an inflammatory response. Inflammation places stress on the heart and can exacerbate a preexisting heart condition.
So, you want to make sure that a periodontist inspects the gums often and looks for any signs of inflammation. This way, treatment can be completed before any serious infections develop.
You Have Already Received Treatments From A General Dentist
Some people do not see good results from common gingival treatments like root planing and deep cleaning. And when gum infections are able to continue, you may be at risk of significant bone degradation. Once the bone is no longer strong enough to hold the teeth in place, you may be faced with tooth loss.
A periodontist can help you prevent tooth loss by completing more sophisticated procedures like gum grafting. The professional will also assess your specific condition to find the underlying cause for the long-standing gum disease. For example, the periodontist may see signs of Sjorgen's disease where the exocrine glands within the body do not produce enough fluid. The result is a dry mouth and the proliferation of bacteria.
In the case of Sjorgen's disease or when salivary glands simply do not produce enough saliva, artificial saliva can be suggested and prescribed.
If you think that you have a progressive or serious case of gum disease, speak with a periodontist who can help with advanced treatments.