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This article outlines the basics in a career in periodontistry, a dental specialty growing in practice. It discusses the primary functions of a periodontist, the academic requirements needed to study the specialty, and the unique challenges faced by periodontists. It also provides insight into what steps should be taken when dental surgery is recommended to patients.

Despite the best efforts of dental ''home'' care, the fact is that 75 percent of the adults in today’s world are losing their teeth — and fast. What lies at the height of this evil? A certain deadly monster that goes by the name of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease refers to an infection progressively decaying the gums, causing destruction to the bone, and ultimately causing the teeth crown to fall off. The disease manifests itself in the form of a gum infection around the teeth, also known as gingivitis, leading to swelling and rotting of the gums, which (if left untreated) can cause teeth to drift apart. Henceforth, the crown becomes loose and falls off if allowed to pass unchecked.

Now who will actually be able to help you? Is it the job of just a dentist or a specialist in that field, someone who is adept at monitoring teeth using advanced gadgets and can even fix the problem by some ingenious tricks? If you said yes, you are in the process of understanding the skills of a periodontist. A periodontist is someone whose very name reminds us of the periodontal ligament present beneath our crown and in our gums. It is this branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, care, and maintenance of teeth and associated structures and may even undertake the advanced task of teeth implants.

This specialization involves dental diseases, which encompasses tissues surrounding the teeth. As a periodontist, you will be an expert in the fields of analyzing, preventing, and treating the diseases of the supporting and associated tissues of the teeth. Can this work be done by a dentist? The answer is yes and no. Even though a dentist may have a general idea of what the practice entails, periodontistry it is a specialization whose practitioners are equipped with years of experience. For example, periodontists detect gum infection in two different ways: they may use a small apparatus to measure the gap between two teeth and calculate the drift rate between them, or they may employ x-ray techniques to gauge the bone loss and relative crown displacement from gum. By this method, we may know what type of bone loss has occurred, how much bone loss has occurred, and where it has taken place.

As you might have already guessed, the field of dentistry has greatly diversified into special genres over last half century. Today there are eight recognized streams of dentistry with postgraduate specialization. Needless to say, each has its own demand. This has basically resulted out of the unhygienic food habits cultivated in modern society. People often don’t realize that smoking will hasten the process of tooth decay and gum infection.

To succeed as a periodontist, you need to have an aptitude for chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology, and dentistry. The course of periodontistry is one of a university post-graduate specialty program, offered by most of the top universities in the United States. In order to acquire the board certification, you have to take a detailed oral and written examinations whose syllabus comprises of a thorough knowledge of dental diseases(like gingivitis, chronic periodontitis, etc.) as well as their treatment and an understanding of all the past and present history of treatment as recorded in journals and medical papers.

If the periodontal disease of a person is in its advanced stage, then the person is referred to a periodontist. Fortunately, you don’t need to go through any ''middle men'' to directly access the wisdom of a periodontist. You can even fix up a meeting with him.
On a patient’s initial visit with a periodontist, they will go through the patient’s entire medicinal and dental account. After this, the patient will undergo a thorough dental check up. The periodontist will insert an apparatus to check whether teeth properly fit while chewing and whether there are any gaps in between teeth.

As a periodontist, you will have to know whether the patient is taking any medicine that might react with the medication you prescribe. Check for any gum line slump that might further go on to because more harmful damage to the teeth. Undertake tests to determine whether any tooth is loose or not and conduct x-rays to determine the bone level and probable bone loss. You will have apparatus at your disposal to evaluate the depth of the periodontal pockets.

Suppose you find that matters have gone beyond the stage of preventive control or minor remedial treatment. You then recommend that they will have to undergo periodontal surgery. But beware: unless you are sure that the dental tissue has exceeded controllable levels of repair, do not push for surgery. Pocket reduction process, regenerative process, crown lengthening, and soft tissue grafts are the four types of surgeries that are usually prescribed. Each of these is performed after the application of anesthetics.

After this, you will have to ensure that the patient takes proper care of the operated structure. You may prescribe regular cleaning of the teeth and check up of gums every three to four months. Because this is a chronic problem, a lengthy treatment is necessary without which more bone loss will occur, until eventually, the teeth become loose and need to be removed. Regular care means regular dental check up.

A periodontist is also able to perform dental implants, which is very much in demand for people who have lost a few teeth. The process of dental implants involves replacing a new tooth in place of the lost one by means of surgery and therefore adhesives are not used. The new tooth is securely attached to the jaw is long lasting and comfortable.

As a specialist, you will obviously expect your payment done in advance. You may advise your needy patients to depend on medical insurances or consult local periodontists who may do the same work at a subsidized rate.
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