A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, as well as in the placement of dental implants. Going to a periodontist can be confusing for patients who aren’t too familiar with this specialty’s jargon. To promote the best outcomes, it’s important that each patient comprehend all of his (or her) periodontist’s explanations and instructions.
The office of Russell D. Hatfield, DDS, MS, Ltd is committed to providing all of our patients with excellent attention and care. We’ll evaluate your situation, answer all of your questions, and explain your options clearly and concisely. Here’s are some common terms.
Plaque: A colorless, sticky film made up of bacteria, food particles and saliva that constantly forms in the mouth. Combined with sugars it forms an acid that endangers teeth and gums. Bacteria in plaque produces toxins that destroy the soft tissue and bone that hold teeth in place.
Periodontal tissue: The hard and soft supporting structures around the teeth.
Gum disease: A chronic infection of the gums due to a build-up of plaque. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss. The three stages of gum disease are gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis: The symptoms of gingivitis, the mildest type of gum disease, include red and/or swollen gums, and bleeding when you brush or floss. It can be reversed with professional treatment and good at-home dental care. If left untreated it may progress to periodontitis.
Periodontitis: A chronic infection of the gums that stems from a build-up of plaque. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Many people don’t know that they have gum disease because is causes little or no pain.
Advanced periodontitis: This most severe form of gum disease is a chronic infection of the gums is caused by the buildup of plaque under the gum line. Spaces between the gum and the teeth develop and deepen. Gums recede and bone dissolves. Teeth can become wobbly and may have to be extracted.
An implant: An artificial replacement for a missing tooth/teeth. The periodontist puts a metal post in the jawbone. A crown is placed on the implant so it can act as a “real” tooth. Implants can anchor a single tooth or multiple teeth.
We at the office of Russell D. Hatfield, DDS, MS, Ltd are experts in our field. Our goal is to exceed all of your expectations. We pride ourselves on our never-ending ability to provide superior patient care. For more information about our practice and how we can help you, please call us to schedule an appointment.