How Do You Know It’s Time to See a Periodontist?


Are your gums hurting? Do you often deal with bleeding, swelling, or inflammation? If your gums are starting to get sensitive, this could be a sign that it’s time to visit your periodontist. At the office of Dr. Kao, we care about the all-around health and well-being of your mouth.

There are many symptoms and causes that can lead to periodontitis. For example, lack of brushing and flossing are the main culprits. Other factors, such as genetics or physical trauma, can also play a part. To allow you to assess whether it’s time for you to see a periodontist, check out some of our quick tips below. As a result, this guide will help you understand the beginning stages of the disease. In a word, you can recognize the symptoms right away.

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Signs You Need to See a Periodontist

periodontist in LA

Dental hygiene is a particularly important part of life and helpful in preventing unnecessary physical and financial pain later. Brushing after every meal, flossing daily, and regular dental checkups are all great habits to adopt to make sure that you never have to be a victim of oral surgery; however, sometimes things go wrong and there comes time to see a specialist.

There are many signs to watch out for and it is important to find a great periodontist in Los Angeles, so be sure to contact Dr. Kao if you feel any of the symptoms below; but first, let’s define what a periodontist is and what they do.

What is a Periodontist?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, a periodontist is “a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants.” Essentially, they are specially trained oral physicians who specialize in gum disease and the structure of teeth and usually treat more problematic cases than general dentists. Because this is a specialized area, periodontists receive three additional years of training after dental school and attend meetings and seminars to be familiar with the latest techniques in their field.

What are the Signs?

Although any change to your gums or teeth should warrant at least a consultation with a periodontist, here is a list of some explicit things to look for that may be cause for a visit today:

  • Gums being red, swollen, or bleeding. This is the most common first sign that there may be something wrong that requires treatment.
  • Chronic bad breath. If you practice proper oral hygiene daily, and you are still experiencing chronic bad breath, chances are there is something wrong.
  • Bad taste in mouth. Persistent sour or unpleasant tastes in your mouth could be an indicator that bacterial buildup has occurred, and your gums are under attack.
  • Gum recession. This one may be a bit harder for those of us uneducated in the dental sciences to spot, but it is important nonetheless. Be aware of your gums natural state so you can see if your gum line is receding, which can cause infection due to the root of your tooth being increasingly exposed. Not to mention, it is very painful!
  • Changes to your teeth. Be sure to look out for any gaps, shifting of your teeth, or loose teeth, as these all can be signs of gum disease.
  • Pain. Whether you have pain while biting down or sensitivity to temperature shifts, one thing we all know is certain: any pain is never a good sign.
  • Lifestyle. There are many things about your body or lifestyle that can affect your teeth and could make you more likely to have gum disease. Those who smoke or have smoked for some period of their life are more susceptible to gum disease. Also, having diabetes puts you at an increased risk because of the higher levels of sugar in your saliva that bacteria thrive on.
  • Family history. There have been studies that show gum disease may be hereditary, so if you have a family history of gum disease, it would be prudent to book a visit with a periodontist before these symptoms become a problem. Dr. Kao is a respected periodontist in Los Angeles and is available to give you more information on the possibility of gum disease.
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    Frequently Asked Questions About Periodontal Health

    Whether you are experiencing oral pain and think you might need to visit a periodontist in Los Angeles, your dentist has told you to visit a periodontist, or you are concerned about your oral health in general, you very likely have some questions. From what periodontists are to the symptoms of periodontal disease, to whether your periodontal procedures are covered by Medicaid and Medicare, we compiled some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic in this article to help!

    Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kao if you have any further questions!

    What is “periodontal health” and what is a “periodontist”?

    Periodontal health refers to the health of your gums, oral bones, and teeth. Periodontal disease is often a bacterial infection in your gums and bones that, if not treated, can lead to more serious infections and sometimes tooth loss. Studies now show that periodontal disease can spread to other areas of the body, so being aware of it is vital.

    A periodontist is a dentist specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal diseases and oral inflammation. They often treat patients with severe gum disease. Periodontists also specialize in the placement and maintenance of dental implants, cosmetic periodontal procedures, and a wide range of treatments often because of severe gum disease.

    Who needs to see a periodontist?

    While many patients’ periodontal needs can be serviced by their general dentist, many cannot. There are many oral conditions that a general dentist is not specially trained to recognize, diagnose, or maintain, so it is important to see a periodontist if you exhibit moderate to severe signs of periodontal disease. Some patients have very complex oral/medical history, in which case a partnership between periodontist and dentist can be formed.

    Are periodontal treatments covered by Medicare or Medicaid?

    Unfortunately, periodontal treatments are not covered by Medicare, as Medicare only covers medical treatments. Medicaid programs are run individually by each state, so your coverage depends on where you live. Check with your dental provider to find out if the periodontal treatment you need is subject to coverage.

    What are the common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?

    Unfortunately, periodontal disease might show little to no symptoms before it enters an advanced stage. If you see one of the following symptoms, it could be a sign you have periodontal disease and need to contact a periodontist or dentist right away!

    ● Persistent bad breath
    ● Red, swollen, tender gums
    ● Pain in your mouth
    ● Bleeding while flossing, brushing, or eating
    ● Receding gums
    ● Gums pulling away from the teeth
    ● Sores
    ● Loose teeth
    ● Separating teeth
    ● Pus between your gums and teeth
    ● Change in your bite
    ● Change in the fit of dentures

    What can I do to prevent periodontal disease?

    Taking diligent care of your teeth and gums at home is the best way to prevent periodontal disease. Brush your teeth after every meal and before bedtime, floss at least one time daily, and see your dentist for regular exams at least twice a year. Spending just a few minutes each day on your oral health can prevent you from major pain and expense down the road.

    How is periodontal disease linked to cardiovascular disease?

    Recent research has linked periodontal disease with a heightened risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Both periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are chronic inflammatory diseases, so it is thought that the inflammation might be what links the two. Furthermore, untreated periodontal disease can increase the inflammation in your body, which increases your risk of developing many more severe health issues, including cardiovascular disease. However, there is not conclusive evidence directly linking the two currently.

    Can young people develop periodontal disease?

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