When to See a Periodontist

Why Should You See a Periodontist?

Although your regular dentist may be providing excellent periodontal care for you there are times when a Periodontal Specialist is needed. This can be because your general dentist or hygienist may feel that more specific or more comprehensive treatment then they can provide is needed. In this case, your general dentist or a hygienist may recommend a consultation with a Periodontist. You may also decide to see a Periodontist on your own, perhaps as a second opinion.  We do not require that our patients be referred to our office.

If you experience any of these symptoms, we encourage that you to schedule an appointment at our office without delay:

  • Bleeding while brushing or eating normal foods. 
  • Loosening of teeth and/or gum recession. Longer-looking and loose-feeling teeth can be a sign of gum recession bone loss. 
  • Food getting caught between your teeth. This “food Impaction” is a major cause of localized Periodontal Disease.
  • Bad breath. Ongoing halitosis (bad breath), which continues despite rigorous oral cleaning, can be caused by Gingivitis or the more serious  Periodontitis.

Oral Cancer

The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer.

The following are common signs of a pathological process or cancerous growth:

  • Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
  • A sore that fails to heal, and bleeds easily.
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.

These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology and, curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer or other oral illnesses.

Cigarette smokers and those that drink alcohol to an excess are at a much higher risk for developing oral cancer.  For these patients, we recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. We always check for Oral Cancer during your regular cleaning visits (Supportive Periodontal therapy).

Remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so that we may help.