Questions relating to Periodontal Disease

General Questions


Questions relating to Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease (also known as periodontal infection, gum disease or pyorrhea) is an ongoing infection in the gums around your teeth. The cause of periodontal disease is infectious bacteria that gets deep into your gums and causes tissue inflammation.

This infection starts destroying the bone that supports your teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. For more information, please see the section entitled "Periodontal Disease".

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What are the symptoms of periodontal infection?

Because periodontal infection grows under your gums, you can have no symptoms at all. Patients with more advanced periodontal disease may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Tooth sensitivity to heat/cold
  • Bad breath
  • Deep pockets around the teeth
  • Spaces between the teeth
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Gums receding around the teeth (longer looking teeth)

For more information see the section entitled "Periodontal Disease".

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Why is my dentist sending me to a periodontist?

Periodontists have advanced training in the treatment of periodontal disease and the placement of dental implants.

Patients with periodontal infection have a lowered resistance to periodontal bacteria. This causes a continuing gum infection that can grow in bursts of activity. Some factors that can cause a dramatic increase in the severity of your periodontal disease are:

  • Smoking
  • Genetic factors
  • Stress
  • Diet
  • Age
  • Illness
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Dental plaque

Two other important factors are:

  • Lack of regular dental checkups.
  • Lack of regular dental cleanings.

When your infection has a "burst" of growth, or when there are signs that this may occur, your dentist may recommend periodontal treatment.

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How is periodontal disease treated?

Periodontal disease is an infection in the gums and jawbone. The goal of treatment is to remove this infection and prevent it from coming back. The specific treatment required to do this will vary with each patients' individual needs. After your initial examination, we will completely explain your different options for treatment.

For more information see Periodontal Disease Treatment .

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Does periodontal treatment hurt?

One of our primary concerns is that you have a comfortable experience during treatment. Towards this end, we offer an extensive array of the latest techniques to minimize discomfort. Many of our patients are amazed at how little discomfort they experience during treatment

For more information on the patient comfort techniques we use, see our Procedures page.

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Why do I need to start treatment right away?

Periodontal infection grows in "bursts of activity".

It is likely that you have been referred to us because your general dentist has noticed an increase in infection activity.

This infection eats away at the bone that supports your teeth (leading to tooth loss). If not treated, there can be a number of consequences. Please see the Dental & Medical Consequences section for a list of these.

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General Questions

What is going to happen on my first visit?

On your first visit to our office, you will receive a periodontal examination. You should experience little, if any, discomfort during this examination. If necessary, X-rays will be taken to further evaluate any loss of bone around your teeth.

Afterwards, our findings and your options for treatment will be explained thoroughly. At that time, the doctor will answer any questions you may have.

Our goal is that you leave with a complete understanding of your condition and the treatment needed to restore you to optimum oral health.

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How much will treatment cost and will my insurance cover it?

Everyone deserves to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime. While periodontal treatment is not as costly as replacing natural teeth due to tooth loss, its cost can vary greatly depending upon your needs.

If you have dental insurance, this may provide full or partial coverage. Our office will contact your insurance company to learn what they will cover. We do accept assignment of most insurance benefits if the fee is over $500. In such cases, your responsibility will be to cover only the remainder. We ask that you pay for consultations, X-rays, and regular cleanings. We will give you a statement to send to your insurance company.

We feel that finances never should be an obstacle to treatment. For your convenience, we offer several payment options. We also have payment plans to suit your individual needs. Our staff will be happy to answer any of your financial or insurance questions.

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What are the medical consequences if I delay treatment?

When periodontal infection gets into the bone around your teeth, it can then enter your blood stream. From there it travels to other parts of the body and can contribute to medical problems.

Recent research has found that patients with periodontal disease are more than twice as likely to suffer heart disease and stroke.

Please read the section entitled "Dental & Medical Consequences" to see an overview of recent research correlating periodontal disease with serious medical problems.

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Do you use the latest equipment and techniques?

We keep ourselves up-to-date regarding equipment and periodontal procedures. You can be certain you will receive state-of-the-art care in our office.

Regarding sterilization, we believe that all procedures should be safe as well as comfortable. We use only the latest sterilization techniques. For more information on treatment techniques and sterilization see the section entitled "Procedures".

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What other treatments do you provide?

Besides periodontal treatment and dental implants, we perform a number of procedures, including:

Prescriptive Periodontal Procedures:

  • Crown lengthening
  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Ridge augmentation
  • Connective tissue grafting

Cosmetic Procedures:

  • Gingival (gum) contouring
  • Aesthetic crown lengthening
  • Soft tissue grafting

For more information on these procedures, please see the section entitled "Procedures".

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How is my general dentist important in my overall care?

Your general dentist knows your entire dental history, the condition of your teeth, and your future dental needs. He or she is in charge of your overall dental care. We work closely with him or her to ensure that you receive the best possible dental care.

Optimal oral health often requires a team approach with the dentists, hygienists, specialist and patient all contributing. In many cases, your general dentist may do your preliminary periodontal treatment and a portion of your periodontal maintenance.

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