What are Gum Specialist Dentists Called?

 Q: What is a gum specialist called? What does this type of specialist do? I was recently diagnosed with 5 mm gum pockets and advanced gum disease. I have had terrible pain in the teeth/gums, with loose teeth, and seeing a general dentist weekly. He finally stopped ignoring my problem, and referred me to a gum specialist. What is a gum specialist exactly? Will the surgery to fix my gums be expensive?

Answer: At a minimum you should be under the care of a periodontal specialist (gum specialist) and hygeneist if it is that bad. Seriously, though, a professionally done procedure is safer for your teeth and gums in the end.

Definition: “PERIODONTICS – (from latin “surrounding teeth”) specializing in gum related treatments.” 

You need to see a periodontist (specialist in gum disease). He is a special dentist that deals with the ‘Gums’ –  emphasis on gum surgeries and hygiene. Periodontists spend all their time studying gums and bones and would be able to help you.

Patients with periodontal pockets should be visiting a gum specialist called a Periodontist as often as every 3 months in order to stop or at least slow the progression of the disease. If you are sent to a DDS specialist (Periodontist) for your gums make sure you do not miss an appointment or reschedule because they will cancel your treatment.

How Much Will a Gum Specialist Charge?

A deep cleaning to reverse moderate/advanced gum disease will cost you $550 USD a quadrant (there are 4 quadrants to a set of teeth) and take between 4-5 hours. It may be too late for a gum specialist to save your teeth by cleaning. If the gingivitis has turned into periodontitis, you may have to have laser gum grafting, or gingival surgery to reverse the gingivitis.

What Does a Gum Specialist Do?

Periodontists (gum specialists) diagnose and treat periodontal disease, do cosmetic periodontal procedures, and dental implant placement surgery. General dentists and oral specialists can practice periodontics and treat gum disease.

Dentists can legally do braces, root canals, gum surgeries, wisdom tooth extractions, implants, or any other task that specialists do. However, specialists such as periodontists and oral surgeons do not ordinarily place fillings or practice teeth cleaning.

When Will I Be Referred to a Gum Specialist?

If it’s a gum problem, you may be referred to a periodontist (a gum specialist) to examine your gums and make sure everything is ok. Your dentist refers you to a specialist when he is not comfortable treating your tooth.

Depending on how difficult the case is, the general dentist should refer the patient to a specialist, a periodontist. Because specialists usually give up the right to practice general dentistry, they get referrals from general dentists.

What Causes Gum Disease?

If you have gum disease, that means that you have very deep pockets.  It is usually caused by bacterial plaque that accumulates in the small gaps between the gum pockets and the teeth and also by calculus (harden plaque) that forms on the teeth. These accumulations may be tiny, even microscopic, but the bacteria in them produce toxins that cause inflammation of the gum around the teeth.

It is a complicated process but basically the bacteria in the plaque and calculus on your teeth and under your gums eventually causes bone loss around your teeth and the eventual loss of your teeth.

Advanced, bad gum disease can be related to heart disease because it causes an inflammatory process in the arteries.

How to Treat and Cure Gum Disease

Gum disease (gingivitis) is reversible, but periodontitis (advanced gum disease) is irreversible.

This problem can be treated by periodontal cleanings every 3 months and gum treatment.  First – have your DDS do the deep cleaning. The dentist will remove the Calculus (tartar) from not only above but below the gum line. Also, have the DDS check for below the gum line cavities.The enamel that is above the gum line is not the same as that below. It is difficult to get beneath the gum line.

Second – after you have the cleaning have the area irrigated with the DDS/RD H’s solution of choice to help the gums heal and repair.

Or the last option is gum surgery and bone grafting, which replaces healthy gum and bone tissue onto the bone loss/gum loss area. The gum contouring procedure is done with laser, while the anesthesia will make sure that you will not feel any pain during the treatment.

Get a second opinion from a root canal specialist called an endodontist. A lot of private gum specialist surgeons offer gum grafting and it is very expensive, but your own dentist will know what the chances are of a NHS referral for this.