In addition to general dentistry, many dentists specialize in other areas. One of those is periodontics, which focuses on the gums and bone that supports the teeth. In Los Angeles and Century City, Dr. Arman Torbati should be your first choice for a periodontist. Trained at Harvard and a USC graduate, Dr. Torbati is also an associate professor at USC as well as a diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics.
What's a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist with special training in the care of the gums and the bone of the jaw. These specialists focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease such as gum inflammation and infection. A periodontist typically spends an additional three years of training after completing dental school. The training allows periodontists to perform more extensive dental procedures than the average dentist as well as routine dental care.
What Do Periodontists Do?
As surgical dentists, periodontists perform a variety of procedures. For example, they may perform cosmetic procedures such as plastic surgery of the gums to resolve problems with receding gums. They manage severe or complex cases of periodontal disease, such as major gum infections. A periodontist might perform a treatment such as laser therapy for a gum infection, remove damaged gum tissue or clean the infected surface of a tooth with treatments known as scaling and root planing. Periodontists also perform dental implants for broken or missing teeth.
Causes of Gum Disease
Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, which is most likely to affect older Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that of Americans aged 65 and older, 70 percent have periodontitis. Genetics, smoking, stress, certain medications, poor nutrition, obesity, clenching or grinding the teeth, and systemic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes increase the risk of gum disease. Women may be more susceptible to gum disease than men because of hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Gum disease can cause infections in the mouth and lead to tooth loss as well as bone loss in the jaw.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Many people have no obvious symptoms of gum disease until the condition is advanced, which is why regular preventive care and professional check-ups are so important. If symptoms do occur, they are likely to include the following:
- Tender, red or swollen gums
- Pain in the gums or mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth or gums
- Receding gums that pull back from the teeth
- Sores, pus or persistent bad breath, all of which can signal an active infection
- Teeth that are loose or other signs the teeth are shifting
- Changes in the way dentures fit.
If you think you might have gum disease or another periodontal problem, you should be evaluated as soon as possible. Infections can spread and early treatment is always preferred. Please contact us so we can schedule your consultation with Dr. Torbati.