WHY IS REFERRAL NECESSARY?
Your general dentist may refer to you a periodontist for a
number of reasons. Periodontists are dentists who have
undergone significant recognised further training to diagnose,
treat and prevent diseases and disorders (infections and
inflammatory) of the gums and other structures around the
teeth. They are also trained in placing dental implants and
other related surgical procedures.
One of most the most common reasons for being referred to
a periodontist is for the management of chronic periodontitis.
Periodontitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the
gums, bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth.
Although most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time
to time, around 10% of the population appear to suffer from
the more severe forms of the disease which cause loss of
supporting bone. This group appears to be at greatest risk of
losing teeth through periodontal disease.
Your dentist or hygienist can refer you to a specialist
periodontist to help manage your periodontitis. During the
periodontal examination, your periodontist will thoroughly
examine your teeth and gums and take radiographs (x-rays) if
required. You will be provided with options for treatment
together with the prognosis for your teeth.
Treatment options include:
Initial therapy frequently involves the removal of bacterial
deposits from beneath the gum line. This is done under local
anaesthetic so that it is not painful. This is called root surface
debridement and is carried out over a series of
For some patients, surgical therapy may also be indicated.
This option may be used to re-shape the gum and underlying
bone to reduce the risk of further bone loss. In specific
cases, surgery can facilitate the regeneration of the lost gum
Other common reasons to see a periodontist:
PERIODONTAL PLASTIC SURGERY
Periodontists are often considered the plastic surgeons of
dentistry. If you are looking to improve your smile, a
periodontist may be able to help.
GUMMY SMILE OR UNEVEN GUM SMILE
Do you feel your teeth look too short and your smile is too
gummy or your gums cover too much of some teeth while
leaving the others the right length? If so, dental crown
lengthening might be the solution for you. During this
procedure, excess gum tissue is removed to expose more of
the crown of the tooth. Then your gumline is sculpted to give
your new smile just the right look.
LONG TEETH/EXPOSED ROOTS
Sometimes gum recession causes the tooth root to become
exposed, which makes your teeth look long and can make
you look older than you are. This recession can happen as a
result of a variety of causes, including periodontal diseases.
Gum graft surgery and other root coverage procedures are
designed to cover exposed roots, to reduce further gum
recession and to protect vulnerable roots from decay.
During gum graft surgery, your periodontist takes gum tissue
from your palate or another donor source to cover the
exposed root. This can be done for one tooth or several teeth
to even your gum line and reduce sensitivity.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GUM GRAFT SURGERY?
A gum graft can reduce further recession and bone loss. In
some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from
decay. This may reduce tooth sensitivity and improve
aesthetics of your smile. Whether you have a gum graft to
improve function or aesthetics, patients often receive the
benefits of both: a beautiful new smile and improved
periodontal health – your keys to smiling, eating and speaking
with comfort and confidence.
INDENTATIONS IN THE GUMS AND JAWBONE
Tooth loss can cause an indentation in the gums and
jawbone where the tooth used to be. This happens because
the jawbone recedes when it no longer is holding a tooth in
place. Not only is this indention unnatural looking, it also
causes the replacement tooth to look too long compared to
the adjacent teeth.
Ridge augmentation can fill in this defect recapturing the
natural contour of the gums and jaw. A new tooth can then
be created that is natural looking, easy to clean and
DENTAL CROWN LENGTHENING
During the dental crown lengthening procedure, excess
gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the
natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even your
gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad
smile. Your dentist or periodontist may also recommend
dental crown lengthening to make a tooth reconstruction or
cosmetic dental procedure possible. Perhaps your tooth is
decayed, broken below the gum line, or has insufficient
tooth structure for a restoration, such as a crown or bridge.
Crown lengthening adjusts the gum and bone level to
expose more of the tooth so it can be restored.
A report will be forwarded to your dentist, with the
specialist’s findings, diagnosis, and treatment plan. A copy
of the report will be sent to you as well.