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Monday, March 10, 2014
Seeing both a periodontist and a dentist
I am currently seeing my periodontist for a deep cleaning and also a gum graft procedure in the near future. Should I also be visiting my regular dentist for check ups or is the periodontist`s treatment enough?
A periodontist will concentrate on periodontal (around the tooth) tissues including gingiva and bone supporting the teeth. He/she can also help with some difficult restorations when the dentist does not have enough tooth structure to build a crown, etc. or when the patient is missing teeth and needs implant placement.
A general dentist is the person for preventive dentistry. He/she should see the patient regularly to maintain the dental health. His/her main responsibility is to treat and prevent tooth decay and improve oral hygiene so that periodontal tissues will be healthy. And when he/she notices a problem area, a general dentist refers the patient to a specialist.
Back to your question...After your active treatment with periodontist, depending on the severity of the periodontal problem, periodontist may recommend to visit his/her office every 6 months and alternate these recall appointments between your regular dentist and periodontist (meaning you see your periodontist for the first six months and you see your dentist for second six months and so on). If your problems are not major, periodontist may decide to refer you back to your dentist, inform the dentist so that if the dentist notices additional problems, he/she can call and ask for help the maintenance of your periodontal health.
Binnaz Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Periodontology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University