Periodontist Terms You Need To Know – Part 1

When you go to the doctor or dentist, you’re likely overburdened with terms that you either don’t understand or can’t keep straight. This is why many of us are so concerned about finding the right health specialist for our needs. We want to find someone we can rely on to provide us with the right treatment at the right time. In this blog, we’re going to define some of the terms in the field of periodontology so that you’re not so lost when you see a periodontist for the first time.


A periodontist is a dental specialist who treats diseases that affect the supporting structures of your teeth; this includes the gums, jawbone, and periodontal ligament. More specifically, a periodontist treats gum disease, periodontitis, gum recession, bone loss in the jaw, and other conditions. Like other oral health specialists, many periodontists are equipped to perform dental implant surgery as well.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is one of the biggest threats to oral health. The disease starts when bacteria forms around the gumline. Once the bacteria accumulates enough, it will turn into plaque and then tartar. Once the condition advances to periodontitis, the supporting structures of the teeth are affected and the patient is at risk of losing their tooth. There are several procedures a periodontist can use to treat periodontal disease including both surgical and non-surgical options. Speak with a periodontist to learn more about these.

Root Scaling And Planing

Scaling and planing are two processes used to “deep clean” the surface of the teeth in order to reverse periodontal disease. Unlike a traditional dental cleaning or periodontal cleaning, root scaling and planing cleans below the gumline in order to reverse or mitigate the damage done by advanced periodontal disease. Root scaling and planing will only be necessary if you and your periodontist are attempting to save the tooth rather than replace it with a dental implant.

Dental Implant

Dental implants are the most effective long-term solution to missing teeth. Although traditional dentures are one of the most common replacement options for missing teeth due to their low cost, they don’t provide the same benefits as a dental implant. Instead of laying on top of the gums like dentures, implants are secured firmly in the jaw like your natural teeth. They offer optimal chewing power, restored smile and facial structure, and they’re easy to clean and maintain. Dental implants consist of three parts, the implant itself which goes into the jawbone, the abutment which is designed to hold a dental crown, and the crown which is designed to look like a real, natural tooth.

Contact Pacific Northwest Periodontics

These are just a few of the periodontist terms you should know. Check out our next blog where we take a look at a few more terms. In the meantime, if you’re experiencing swollen, red, or bleeding gums, visit us here at Pacific Northwest Periodontics. We want to provide you with the highest quality periodontal care in the Tukwila area.