Going to the right doctor for your specific needs is important. That's why deciphering whether you need a dentist or a periodontist is crucial. The difference between the two may become confusing, especially if you don't know what your aches and pains mean. The difference between a general dentist and a periodontist is not huge. A general dentist is available for any oral health issues you may have whereas a periodontist specializes in the health of the soft tissues and bone in your jaw. Both doctors deal with oral care, so if you didn't know who to choose when the time came, they would be able to recommend you to the proper specialist.
If you are trying to decipher who to see, here are common situations and symptoms where you should seek help from a periodontist instead of a dentist.
Your Gums Are Bleeding
If your gums are sensitive, swollen and bleed easily, it's time to see a periodontist right away. All these symptoms are common indications of gum disease. The first stage of gingivitis can be reversible, but once you pass that, it is essential to seek help.
Your Gum Line Is Receding
It's normal for the gum line to recede as you grow older, but if you notice your gum recession is more sudden and accompanied by discomfort or swelling, you may have periodontal disease. Your periodontist can perform a thorough examination to confirm your diagnosis and provide you with a recommended personalized treatment plan.
You Have Lost a Tooth
If your teeth feel weakened, all of a sudden, it is possible you have gum disease. At this stage, see a periodontist immediately, as you may lose your tooth. If you have lost a tooth already because of gum disease, keep in mind that your periodontist will need to treat your gum disease prior to placing implants. If implants are placed before the diseased gum tissue is treated, your chances of experiencing dental implant failure increases exponentially.
If you are still questioning whether you need oral care from a periodontist or a dentist, contact your doctor as soon as possible.