A periodontist is a dentist who focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, as well as surgical and non-surgical treatment of periodontal diseases. They also perform tooth implant placements, and other cosmetic surgical procedures.
While periodontal exams should be a part of your regular oral health routine, you need to immediately see a periodontist if you notice any signs of periodontal disease. The disease can only be detected through an evaluation. You should also visit your periodontist on a regular basis if you have health conditions like heart or respiratory disease, diabetes, malnutrition, and osteoporosis, or if you are a smoker or tobacco user. All these conditions put you at risk of periodontal disease.
Finding a Periodontist
Asking for a referral from your general dentist is a good first step. In addition, there are other factors that you need to consider.
Determine how long the periodontist has been in practice, the certifications he has received, and the training and courses he has undergone. Find out when they were completed.
Visit the periodontist you are considering, and ask for his diagnosis on your specific condition. Are the operating hours and the location convenient enough for you? This is important as you may have to visit many times, at least for the duration of your treatment. Do you like the environment? Is everything neat and in order?
Have him explain your periodontal condition clearly, and his recommended treatment plan. Are there various options? If there are, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
Periodontists adapt different treatment approaches. Some prefer more conservative treatments and non-surgical options, while others are more aggressive, and opt for surgical solutions. Before deciding on what option to take, you have to fully understand the reason the periodontist is recommending a particular plan of treatment. Are you comfortable with it? Is the periodontist skilled and experienced enough to perform the procedure you require?
How much do you have to prepare for the treatment? Find out if the clinic will accept your insurance, and if there are available financing and payment options in case you cannot use your health insurance.
In terms of treatment technology, find out what the practice offers, and the types of pain relief and medication options they have. Do they provide emergency care? It is also important to know if the periodontist has pleasant and excellent chair-side manners, and if the staff are professional, accommodating, and friendly.
Is the periodontist part of a multi-specialty dental practice, or does he practice on his own? Sometimes, you may be better off with a total oral health care solution. However, while multi-specialty practices offer a wide range of services, they may not offer the best specialists of the particular treatment options you need.