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Periodontal FAQ

Periodontal FAQ

What is periodontology?

Periodontology, or periodontics, is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, focusing on the study and treatment of the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth and jaw and the placement of dental implants.

What is a Periodontal specialist?

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. They are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, and are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.

Periodontists often treat more problematic periodontal cases, such as those with moderate to severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, such as scaling and root planing (in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned) or root surface debridement (in which damaged tissue is removed). They can also treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures. In addition, periodontists are specially trained in the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants.

Who should see a Periodontist?

Some patients’ periodontal needs can be managed by the general dentist. However, as more and more patients are exhibiting signs of periodontal disease, coupled with research that suggests a relationship between periodontal disease and other chronic diseases of aging, periodontal treatment may necessitate a greater understanding and increased level of expertise by a trained specialist. Patients who present with moderate or severe levels of periodontal disease, or patients with more complex cases, will be best managed by a partnership between the dentist and periodontist.  A referral directly from a general dentist is not necessary to visit a periodontist.

Periodontists often treat more problematic periodontal cases, such as those with moderate to severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, such as scaling and root planing (in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned) or root surface debridement (in which damaged tissue is removed). They can also treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures. In addition, periodontists are specially trained in the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, often begins as a buildup of bacterial plaque on the tooth’s surface near the gum line. If this plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing regularly, it can harden into what your dentist calls tartar or calculus. This bacteria will continue to build up over the tartar, eventually causing the gums to become red, swollen, irritated, even infected. This is known as gingivitis and is the first stage of periodontal disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

  • Red, swollen, sore gums
  • Gums that bleed when brushing and flossing
  • Teeth that appear longer or become loose
  • Large spaces that form between the teeth
  • Gums that begin to pull away from the teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Spontaneous tooth loss (in advanced cases)

Periodontal disease, if left untreated, can contribute to other health problems including heart disease and diabetes. If you’re pregnant, having periodontal disease is also linked to premature birth or low birth weight. Your smile’s health affects the overall health of your body.

Is periodontal disease treatable?

Gum disease is both preventable and treatable. Today’s periodontal treatments provide you with a variety of options that are gentle, safe, and effective. If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, your periodontist can help you determine what treatment best meets your needs.

Periodontal treatments include:

  • Non­surgical treatment
  • Periodontal surgery
  • Periodontal therapy
  • Dental implants
  • At­home care (special toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, and prescription treatment trays)

Am I at risk of having periodontal disease?

You may be at risk of having periodontal disease if you smoke or use tobacco products, you do not brush your teeth and floss regularly, you have health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or osteoporosis, or if several of your family members have had gum disease as it can, in some cases, be genetic.

Will my insurance cover my periodontal treatment?

Many benefit plans will provide assistance for periodontal treatment. Our practice understands how important your dental health is, and we want you to get the most out of any dental treatment you receive. We will help you work with your insurance provider to make sure that your treatment is easy on your budget, and your peace of mind.

Please assist us

Please assist us at the time of your first visit to our office by providing the following information:

  • Your referral slip (if you have one), health history and registration forms
  • Any X­rays from your referring dentist (if given), including any panoramic X­ray taken within the past six months
  • A list of medications you are currently taking
  • Your dental insurance card, if insured

Please arrive approximately ten minutes prior to your consultation so that we can verify any information. A parent or guardian must accompany patients under 18 to this consultation appointment.