Everyone knows the basics of good oral hygiene and health. From regular brushing and flossing to following healthy lifestyle habits and safety precautions, it’s important to know how to take care of the teeth and gums.

But when you have questions about dental care or need to see a professional, who do you call? For most people in Mississauga, it’s the dentist. The dentist is always your first stop for dental care, like regular cleaning, but they’re not the only specialist you need. If you are experiencing issues in the gums and the jaw, or if you want to replace missing teeth permanently with dental implants, you need to see a periodontist.

Not sure who to call—your dentist or periodontist? It’s time to find out. Learn about the differences between a dentist and a periodontist, so you know who to call for your dental concerns. Get the right treatment from the right specialist in Mississauga.

Who is a periodontist and what do they do?

Perhaps the most important question when considering seeing a periodontist or dentist is finding out what they do.

About Dentists

To start, dentists provide general oral healthcare. They check and clean the teeth, and address basic concerns like cavities, toothaches, and other dental concerns. On occasion, they may also assess the alignment of your teeth and bite, as well as recommend the next steps for treating an impacted wisdom tooth, gum disease, and more. However, depending on the complexity of your case, they will recommend that you see a specialist.

Meet Periodontists

Here’s where periodontists come in. While dentists provide basic care, periodontists provide specialized care and treatment for issues that affect the gums, tissues, and bones that support the teeth. If your dentist notices signs of periodontal issues like gum disease or gum recession, they will provide a referral for a periodontist.

Simply, periodontists are specialists. They’re also dentists that completed additional training in order to specialize in periodontics. After finishing dental school, they complete a post-graduate program where they train in periodontal treatment, implantology, and oral pathology. This provides them with the advanced training required to treat the gums, address the deterioration in the jawbone, and replace missing teeth with dental implants.

Now, some dentists may provide basic gum-related treatments. However, they cannot be considered periodontists. Following their post-graduate training, periodontists are licensed in Periodontology by the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. This board certification formally recognizes their advanced education and training in periodontal treatment, surgical and non-surgical procedures, and dental implant placement.

Why Your Dentist Recommends Seeing a Periodontist

At the first sign of periodontal disease and other issues that affect the gums, your dentist may recommend seeing a periodontist for diagnosis and treatment. They will provide a referral to a periodontist since they specialize in these cases and can provide better care, management, and outcomes. Here are the most common scenarios:

  • Your dentist does not offer the treatment you need, such as dental implants or root planing and scaling to treat gum disease
  • Your case of periodontal disease is too severe for their level of expertise
  • Your dentist is unable to prevent your case of gum disease from progressing
  • Your dentist requires a second opinion.

What procedures does a periodontist perform?

A periodontist specializes in treating the gums, tissues, and bones that support the teeth. They diagnose these issues, perform procedures, and help prevent further worsening. While your dentist may bring to your attention the early signs of gum disease or gum recession, or tell you about tooth replacement methods like dental implants, only a periodontist is best equipped to handle these.

  • Scaling and root planing to treat gum disease (aka. Deep cleaning). 
  • Soft tissue grafting to treat gum recession
  • Surgical and non-surgical periodontal treatment
  • Wisdom teeth extractions
  • Dental implants for replacing missing teeth permanently, and more.

While your dentist can recognize signs that you require periodontal treatment during your regular check-up or cleaning in Mississauga, they will recommend seeing a periodontist for diagnosis and treatment. Many periodontists also work on a referral basis, meaning they work with dentists who will refer patients to them if they require advanced periodontal treatment.

When to Visit a Periodontist

During your last visit to your dentist, they may have brought to your attention early signs of gum disease, or recommended replacing missing teeth with dental implants. However, unless recommended, most people in Mississauga will only visit a dentist regularly—if they follow through on the other half of good dental care outside everyday habits at home.

This is why it’s helpful to learn when you should visit a periodontist, even if it’s not yet recommended by your dentist or, more crucially, if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while. Here are some urgent signs that you need to visit a periodontist in Mississauga:

  • Changes in your bite: If you feel that your bite has shifted, or your teeth feel different when you chew
  • Loose teeth: If your teeth feel loose, which may indicate issues at the root of your teeth or the jawbone where these are anchored
  • Receding gums: If your smile appears “toothy” or your teeth are bigger and longer, this may be due to receding gums or loss of gum tissue that protects the teeth and its roots
  • Pain, bleeding, and swelling: If you feel pain in your teeth and gums, or if they are bleeding and swelling, these are clear signs of periodontal disease.

Visit Our Periodontists in Mississauga

Now that you know what a periodontist does and why it’s important to see one, it’s a good time to book your visit. It’s even more highly recommended if you’ve never visited one. After all, prevention is always better than cure: you don’t need to be experiencing severe gum disease to see a periodontist in Mississauga.

At Periodontal Associates, we believe in proactive periodontal care. Our highly experienced periodontists always welcome new patients who want to keep their gums, tissues, and bones that support the teeth healthy. We also offer a full suite of periodontal and restorative treatments, including dental implants for replacing missing teeth. Whether you’re experiencing new symptoms affecting your oral health or want to rehabilitate your smile, our Mississauga periodontists offer various long-term periodontal and oral health treatments.

Are you experiencing symptoms of gum disease, or do you want to treat missing teeth with dental implants? Learn about dentist referrals for seeing the right periodontal specialist, or book a consultation at Periodontal Associates in Mississauga today.

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