Periodontists are specialty dentists that focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Periodontists usually treat more serious periodontal conditions than regular dentists, including disease of the gums and roots, and they specialize in dental implants.
To become a periodontist, students must graduate from college with a bachelor's degree in science and go on to attend a four-year dentistry school and earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
After completing dental school, students who want to become periodontists must complete an additional three years of study in periodontics and receive a Ph.D. in order to become a periodontist.
All dentists are required to complete residency or internship programs. Periodontists will complete these programs in both general dentistry and periodontics.
Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.
To practice medicine, periodontists must gain certification both as a general dentist and as a periodontist.
Periodontists earn dental licensure through the American Board of Dentistry by passing a round of examinations called the National Board of Dental Examinations.
Periodontists gain board certification through the American Board of Periodontology by passing lengthy oral and written examinations.
Where Periodontists Work
Most periodontists work out of their own private or group practices. They may also work out of clinics, dental schools or hospitals.
How Periodontists Help People
Periodontists typically treat the more difficult periodontal problems like severe gum disease or dental issues in patients with other complex medical conditions. They have extensive knowledge of diagnosing, treating, and preventing serious conditions of the gums and cosmetic dental issues. Periodontal diseases usually involve loss of attachment of the gum, tissues, or bone to the teeth. These diseases often result from plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth and gums.
Common treatments by periodontists include:
These are non-invasive treatments to help treat and prevent periodontal disease. Periodontists can use scaling and root planning to clean the surface of the roots and tooth pockets, or may prescribe tray delivery systems to supply medicines like fluoride to the teeth.
Gum graft surgery
Gum grafts are used to cover up low gum lines where periodontal disease has destroyed gum tissue. Periodontists will use grafts from other parts of the patient's gums to re-grow the tissue.
This treatment uses light wavelengths to improve periodontal disease.
These are used when the bone supporting the teeth has eroded due to disease. Periodontists will remove the bad bacteria and use bone grafts and tissue-stimulation proteins to help body regrow bone.
Dental crown lengthening
This is a cosmetic procedure that increases the amount of crown, or the white part of the tooth, that is exposed. Periodontists will remove part of the gum line.
Dental implants are used to help the jaw keep its shape when teeth or other bone structures are missing.
Bone and gums should tightly surround a tooth, but periodontal diseases can destroy both, allowing space for bacteria to grow. Periodontists will remove bacteria and re-secure the bone and gums.
Plastic surgery procedures
Periodontists can perform a variety of cosmetic procedures including shortening teeth, evening gum lines, and filling jaw lines.
Medical Negligence and Periodontists
Periodontists commit medical malpractice when they fail to provide a standard of care to their patients and fail treat or diagnose diseases of the gums and underlying structures.
Symptoms of periodontic diseases often go unnoticed to patients, and patients must rely on the expertise of their doctor to detect serious problems and create treatment plans.
Common instances of malpractice in periodontics include:
Failure to diagnose
Failure to diagnose a periodontal disease is the most common form of malpractice. Malpractice can occur when doctors fail to order diagnostic tests, fail to record the results, or fail to follow-up on the results with the patient and other members of the patient's care team.
Medical studies have found dental implants to be one of the most often cited reason for malpractice cases in periodontics. Implants may break, be incorrectly inserted, or may not receive proper follow-up care.
Crown and bridge treatments
The most common reasons for malpractice in crown and bridge treatments involve the misalignment of the jaw and teeth.
Failing to understand the patient's medical history, including genetic disposition to periodontics disease and current contributing conditions like pregnancy or diabetes, can lead to diagnosis and treatment errors.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Periodontic diseases can cause serious harm to patients when they are not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, and they may be signs of other conditions in the body.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury while being treated by a periodontist, call Gilman & Bedigian today to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys provide effective legal representation to recover compensation for malpractice victims across Maryland.
Call (800) 529-6162 today to begin your case and to learn more about your legal options.