A periodontist is a dentist:
Who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infections and diseases in the soft tissues surrounding the teeth and the jawbone to which the teeth are anchored.
Periodontists are mainly concerned with preventing the onset of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease), diagnosing conditions affecting the gums and jawbone, and treating gingivitis, periodontitis, and bone loss.
In the event that teeth and bone are lost due to infection, periodontists are trained to replace the missing bone and replace the missing teeth with implants.
Periodontists have to train an additional three years beyond the four years of regular dental school and are familiar with the most advanced techniques necessary to treat periodontal disease and place dental implants.
Periodontists also perform a vast range of cosmetic procedures to enhance the smile to its fullest extent.
Periodontal disease begins when the toxins found in plaque start to attack the soft or gingival tissue (gum) surrounding the teeth. The plaque bacteria attach to the teeth and rapidly grow, causing a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, it starts to burrow deeper into the tissue causing inflammation or irritation between the teeth and gums. The body’s response is to destroy the infected tissue, which is why the gums appear to recede. The resulting pockets between the teeth deepen and, if no treatment is sought, the tissue which makes up the jawbone also recedes, causing unstable teeth and tooth loss.
Conditions Treated by a Periodontist
The periodontist can treat mild, moderate, and advanced gum disease by first treating the bacterial infection that is the cause of the problem. Once health is restored, they provide information and education on proper and effective cleaning of the teeth to prevent the return of infection. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.
The most common conditions treated by the periodontist are:
Gingivitis – This is mild inflammation of the gums, which may or may not be signified by pain, swelling, and bleeding.
Mild/moderate periodontitis – In health, we measure pockets (spaces) between the teeth and soft tissue between 1-3mm. When those pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues are measured to be between 4-6mm, it is classified as mild to moderate periodontitis (gum disease). This usually involves some loss of bone around the teeth.
Advanced periodontitis – When the pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues exceed 6mm in depth, significant bone loss has occurred, causing shifting or loosening of teeth.
Missing teeth – When teeth are missing as a result of bone loss, the periodontist can place implants in the remaining jawbone. Sometimes, it is necessary to first rebuild the missing bone.
Cosmetic Procedures - Periodontists specialize in bringing out the best in every smile, correcting such problems as "gummy smiles", excessively long teeth or very short teeth.
When to See a Periodontist
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it is important that you schedule an appointment with Dr. Klonsky without delay:
Treatments Performed by Dr. Klonsky
Dr. Klonsky performs a wide range of treatments to halt the progression of gum disease, replace missing teeth, and make the smile more aesthetically pleasing.
Here are some of the treatments commonly performed by Dr. Klonsky:
Deep pocket cleanings – As gingivitis and periodontitis progress, it becomes more difficult to clean the pockets between the soft tissues and the teeth. Dr. Klonsky can scale and root plane the teeth (sometimes under local anesthetic) to remove debris and infection-causing bacteria.
Pocket reduction surgery (Osseous surgery) - Debris, such as calculus, and bacteria that remain after the deep cleaning, can be accessed and removed through surgery. Certain bony defects caused by the infection can be corrected.
Soft & hard tissue recontouring (Gingivoplasty & Osteoplasty) – As gums recede due to periodontitis, the teeth may appear longer, causing a “toothy" smile. Dr. Klonsky can recontour the hard and soft tissue to make the smile both natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing.
Bone grafting & Implant Placement – To restore a missing tooth, dental implants are placed. If bone loss has occurred, bone grafting is an excellent way to add or “grow” bone so that an implant may be properly secured.
Dr. Klonsky is a highly skilled dental health professional who is able to diagnose and treat many commonly occurring soft tissue and bone problems in the oral cavity. Call us at (212)726-0917 or email us to have any questions or concerns you have answered.