Sometimes tooth pain is more than a simple ache.
Teeth that hurt when you chew are sensitive to hot or cold liquid or ache even when you aren’t actively eating, signal it’s time to pay attention. For example, suppose you are experiencing problems with your gums such as swollen gums, red gums, gums that bleed easily, bad breath, painful chewing, or a receding gum line. In that case, it’s usually a sign of an infection in your periodontal area, and you should immediately get attention from a specialist.
Is a periodontist a dentist?
In short terms, yes. A periodontist is a specific type of dentist that receives 3 additional years of extensive education and training on the periodontal region of the mouth. That means 3 years beyond their original dentistry degree! In addition, they are a board-certified specialist focusing on how your periodontal area is affected by infection and how that infection is impacted by other medical conditions like pregnancy, diabetes, or heart disease.
While periodontists help patients with periodontal disease and dental implants, they are also authorized to perform cosmetic periodontal procedures like bone grafting, soft tissue grafting for long teeth, and much more.
If your regular dentist diagnoses gum disease that is progressing quickly, or if you have a complex case, your dentist will probably refer you to a periodontist for specific care.
There is a variety of reasons you might lose a permanent tooth. It could be a result of an injury sustained while playing sports or another accident. On the other hand, it could be that you had a tooth intentionally extracted as part of an orthodontic care plan. Removing an infected or injured tooth prevents infection from hurting other teeth and spreading to other places in the jaw, mouth, or face. Sometimes that care from a periodontist requires tooth extraction, which will leave gaps in your smile. Frequently, dental implants are necessary to fill the gap. In addition, dental implants offer patients greater freedom and convenience, which improves health and function and increases self-confidence.
What are the steps of getting a dental implant?
- Select a Periodontist: This is important. As you vet options, know that there are several qualified practitioners. However, choosing a periodontist with repeated success with dental implants is vital, has a great office staff to work with, and is in a convenient location for your follow-up appointments. Dr. Augustine in Phoenix, Arizona, has successfully performed over 10,000 dental implants during his career and his team is one of the best in the nation to work with.
- Evaluation Appointment: you’ll likely get X-rays to evaluate the condition of your jawbone. This will help the periodontist determine the correct type of dental implant for you. They’ll make an impression to color match to create your tooth implant as close as possible to the color of your natural teeth.
- Tooth Extraction: Unfortunately, sometimes teeth need to be removed. The good news is that steps can be taken to minimize your discomfort during the process. If your tooth is severely infected, damaged, or otherwise hopeless to save, you will need an extraction. For patients that have a history of anxiety during dental care, sedation could be used. When you work with an excellent provider, your comfort will be a key objective for their work.
- Insert Dental Implant: This process will change depending on the type of dental implant your periodontist discerns is best for you. You will either have an anchor that goes just below the gum line or one that attaches to your jaw bone. After that, the insert will be built up before it is ready for the crown.
- Crown: The crown will be placed after your gums have sufficiently healed from the initial procedure. It will look very similar to your natural teeth and allow you full functionality while avoiding the embarrassment of a gaping hole in your smile.
How do you care for dental implants?
Caring for dental implants is very similar to caring for your natural teeth. You’ll want to brush twice a day with a low abrasion toothpaste and floss regularly. If you have access to an oral irrigator, you can use that at a low speed. Maintaining regular checkups with your dentists for cleaning and preventive care is essential to ensuring your dental implants are in good condition.
Choosing dental implants is a decision that should not be taken lightly. It involves oral surgery and will require time for your jaw, gums, and mouth to heal. But, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the good news is that dental implants have an incredible success rate of 95%. So if you are looking for a way to increase your self-confidence, improve your overall health and increase the function of your natural teeth, dental implants could be the answer for you.