Oral health is an essential part of overall wellness, and finding the right dental professional to help maintain your teeth and fix any problems can help you live pain- and worry-free. But which professional should you see and why? The decision to see a periodontist or dentist in San Angelo often relies on the nature and severity of your oral health issue. Read on to learn about dentists and periodontists and when it makes sense to visit each type of medical professional so that you can figure out which one can best meet your needs.
Dentists vs. Periodontists
First, it’s important to understand the differences between a dentist and a periodontist. A dentist is a healthcare professional in the field of oral health, responsible for diagnosing and treating various conditions affecting the teeth, gums and mouth. Regular check-ups with a dentist are essential for everyone.
On the other hand, a periodontist is a dental specialist who treats bone and tissue infections. They focus on preventing, diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. These experts also place dental implants and carry out more sophisticated cosmetic procedures.
When to Visit a Dentist
A dentist is typically your first point of contact for regular oral health maintenance. They can handle a wide array of general dental work, including routine cleanings, fillings and diagnoses of common oral conditions. A dentist’s role also includes spotting early signs of more serious issues like periodontal disease. They can sometimes treat milder forms of this disease but will refer you to a specialist if your case is more complex or severe.
When to Visit a Periodontist
If you’re facing specific issues related to periodontal disease, you may need to seek the help of a periodontist directly. Symptoms that might warrant a consultation with a periodontist include:
- Gum bleeding: This is one of the first signs of gum disease and should not be ignored. If you find blood on your toothbrush or in the sink after brushing or flossing, it’s wise to consult a periodontist.
- Receding gums: Receding gums can expose the roots of your teeth and make them more susceptible to decay. It’s essential to address this issue promptly so that it doesn’t progress further.
- Persistent bad breath: Persistent bad breath can also be an indicator of gum disease. It’s caused by bacteria building up in the mouth due to poor oral hygiene, which can lead to infections and inflammation in the gums.
- Loose teeth: Periodontal disease can cause the supporting structures of your teeth to weaken. This can eventually lead to tooth loss if not treated in time.
- Gum pain: If you experience pain in your gums, especially when chewing or brushing, it may be a sign of gum disease. Ignoring this symptom can lead to further complications and damage to your oral health.
As periodontists possess more specialized skills in diagnosing and treating gum diseases, they can provide advanced treatments that a general dentist may not offer.
The key to good oral health is being proactive and seeking professional help when necessary. That’s why it’s important to understand the distinction between a dentist and a periodontist when addressing different types of issues. If you’re unsure whether you need dental or periodontal treatment, consult your regular dentist for guidance. They’ll be able to assess your oral health and make a recommendation based on your unique situation.