Do I Need a Referral to See a Periodontist?

Do I Need a Referral to See a Periodontist?

August 1, 2023

Suppose you’re in search of a periodontist and need clarification on the requirement of a referral from a general practitioner or dentist. In that case, the necessity will vary based on your specific requirements. The majority of our patients are referred to us by primary care doctors. However, we offer the option of directly consulting with new patients for specific procedures, depending on their unique circumstances and oral health.

As we warmly welcome self-referred patients, we would like to offer you some valuable tips and information to assist you in determining whether you need to visit a dentist in Largo.

Who is a Periodontist?

A periodontist is a dental professional with additional training to become an expert in treating gum diseases and conditions. They can also specialize in dental implant placement. Patients may need to see a periodontist for various reasons, such as complex gum diseases or medical conditions that complicate gum treatment. While dentists can handle many gum issues, there are cases when consulting a periodontist becomes necessary.

At Largo Dental One, we offer a range of procedures and treatments, including Gingival Contour Sculpting, Periodontal Disease Therapy, Periodontal Laser Treatments, Implants and Tooth Replacement, Esthetics & Cosmetics, Dental Crown Lengthening, Emergency Dental Care, Anesthesia and Sedation, Periodontal Maintenance.

Dentist Referral to Specialist:

General dentists are the first providers of dental care who diagnose and treat common dental conditions. They play a vital role in maintaining oral health and often provide preventative care, routine check-ups, cleanings, and essential dental treatments. However, specific complex dental issues may require specialized attention, so you’ll need a dentist referral to a periodontist.

Differences between General Dentistry and Periodontists

General dentistry and periodontists have varying levels of education and expertise. While general dentists complete dental school, periodontists undergo an additional three years of teaching. This specialized training equips them with the knowledge and skills to perform various restorative and cosmetic periodontal procedures. These treatments aim to improve both the functionality and appearance of the gums and supporting structures. Consequently, periodontists can offer a broader range of services that surpass the scope of general dentistry.

However, there are instances when dentists and periodontists collaborate as a team. While having a periodontist near you is unnecessary, a regular dentist often recommends it. In such situations, dentists usually suggest a periodontist whom they trust and enjoy working with.

How Common is Gum Disease or Periodontitis?

Many 30-year-old or older adults suffer from some form of gum disease. It is crucial to pay special attention to the overall health of your gums if you fall into this category of people. Although it may appear insignificant, periodontitis is an infection that affects the tissues supporting your teeth. Neglecting gum disease can lead to various long-term health complications, including an increased risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attacks and heart disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

The aforementioned potential health risks highlight the seriousness of gum disease, emphasizing the need to address it at its early stages. Delaying dental care can result in irreversible damage to your teeth and gums.

Indications that You Should Visit a Periodontist

If you observe any of the following signs related to your oral health, it is advisable to seek the services from Dr. Gabriela Vila promptly:

Changes in Your Bite: If you notice a difference in how your teeth feel when brushing, talking, or chewing, it could indicate a potential issue. A periodontist can determine the cause of the change and recommend appropriate solutions.

Loose Teeth: As previously mentioned, periodontitis is a severe condition with potential long-term health implications. Loose teeth can be an early sign of this condition. When the bones are thin due to the bacterial infection associated with gum disease, your teeth can become loose. If you observe increased looseness in your teeth, it is wise to visit a periodontist to identify the underlying cause.

Discomfort or Pain: Pain and discomfort serve as signals from your body that something is amiss. In the case of dental problems, the pain can often be localized to a specific tooth. However, in some instances, the pain originates beneath the teeth and gums. This could indicate serious underlying problems that require the attention of a skilled periodontist.

Gum Recession: It is usual for your gums to recede naturally to a certain extent as you age. However, an excessive recession that results in noticeably longer-looking teeth could indicate the presence of periodontal disease.

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