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Dr. Richard W. Oliver, Jr., DMD
Periodontics, Dental Implants and Laser Therapy

What is a Periodontist?

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the soft tissues of the mouth and the underlying jawbone which supports the teeth.  A dentist must first graduate from an accredited dental school before undertaking additional years of study within a periodontology residency training program, in order to qualify as a periodontist.

The primary focus of this residency training is on both surgical and non surgical management of periodontal disease and the placement of dental implants.

Conditions Treated by a Periodontist

We are mainly concerned with preventing the onset of gum disease (periodontal disease), diagnosing conditions affecting the gums and jawbone, and treating gingivitis, periodontitis and bone loss.  Periodontal disease is a progressive condition and the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world.

We treat mild, moderate and advanced gum disease by first addressing the bacterial infection at the root of the problem, providing periodontal treatment, then providing information and education on good oral hygiene and the effective cleaning of the teeth.

The most common conditions treated by the periodontist are:

  • Gingivitis – This is the mild inflammation of the gums which may or may not be signified by pain and bleeding.

  • Mild/moderate periodontitis – When the pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues are measured to be between 4-6mm it is classified as moderate periodontitis (gum disease).

  • Advanced periodontitis – When the pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues in general exceed 6mm in depth, significant bone loss may occur; causing shifting or loss of teeth.

  • Missing teeth – When teeth are missing as a result of bone loss, the periodontist can implant prosthetic teeth.  These teeth are anchored to the jawbone and restore functionality to the mouth.

Treatments Performed by a Periodontist

We perform a wide range of treatments to halt the progression of gum disease, replace missing teeth and make the appearance of the smile more aesthetically pleasing.

Here are some of the treatments commonly performed by the periodontist:

  • Implant placement – When a tooth or several teeth are missing, we are able to create a natural-looking replacement by anchoring a prosthetic tooth to the jawbone.

  • Periodontal surgery - These are surgical procedures that allow us access to the tooth root and surrounding bone so that we may address the root surface debris and bony defects that have resulted because of the periodontal infection.

  • Mucogingival surgery - Often referred to as "gum surgery", these procedures enable us to address gum tissue insufficiencies and recession, often recreating natura,l healthy gums.

  • Bone grafting – These procedures are used when supporting bone is lost around the teeth or when dental implants need to be placed in areas where there is insufficient bone for implant support.
  • Laser therapy - This treatment option involves no incisions or the use of stitches to address the problems caused by progressive periodontal disease.  This less invasive treatment is very predictable, especially when the infectious process is detected early on.
  • Crown lengthening – With this surgical procedure, we remove some of the surrounding hard and soft tissue to expose decayed or broken tooth structure so that it can be adequately restored.

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