We offer the following Periodontal Procedures at our clinic:
- Laser Dentistry – Laser periodontal or gum care -the latest technology to treating gum disease.
- Cosmetic Periodontal Surgery
- Crown Lengthening
- Soft Tissue Graft (Gum Grafting )
- Osseous Surgery
- Bone Regeneration
- Flap Surgery
- Guided Tissue Regeneration
- Bone Graft
Non-Surgical Therapy Periodontal Procedures
- Root Planing
- Periodontal Scaling
- Bite Correction
Gum Disease (Periodontitis)
Gum disease is a progressive inflammatory disease of the gums and the surrounding tissue around the teeth. It is commonly known as gum disease and was referred to as pyorrhea in the old days. It is estimated that up to 80% of the population above the age of 40 may suffer from this disease with the severity varying drastically from one person to another. Periodontitis is the number one cause of tooth loss after the age of 40.
If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, schedule an appointment immediately:
- gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- red, swollen or tender gums
- gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- bad breath that doesn't go away
- pus between your teeth and gums
- loose teeth
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- a change in the fit of partial dentures
Click here to learn more about Gingival recessions
Did you know that Laser Periodontal Therapy takes less time and requires fewer follow up visits than traditional surgery.
Click here to learn more about laser dentistry
Cosmetic Periodontal Surgery
These procedures are a predictable way to cover unsightly, sensitive or exposed root surfaces and to prevent future gum recession. If you are unhappy with the appearance of short unsightly teeth this can be greatly improved by a combination of periodontal procedures and cosmetic dentistry.
Although your teeth appear short, they may actually be the proper length. The teeth may be covered with too much gum tissue. We can correct this by performing the periodontal plastic surgery procedure, crown lengthening.
During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to more than one tooth, to even your gum line, and to create a beautiful smile.
Another cosmetic procedure is the soft tissue graft. It is used to cover unattractive tooth roots, reduce gum recession and protect the roots from decay and eventual loss.
Tooth loss causes the jawbone to recede and can lead to an unnatural looking indentation in your gums and jaw, an appearance of a general aging. The original look of your mouth may not be recaptured because of spaces remaining under and between replacement teeth. They may appear too long compared to nearby teeth.
Bone grafting following tooth loss can preserve the socket/ridge and minimize gum and bone collapse. There is less shrinkage and a more esthetic tooth replacement for either an implant crown or fixed bridge around the replacement teeth.
Periodontal Flap Surgery, which is also called pocket depth reduction, your periodontist folds the gum back away from the tooth. Periodontal Flap surgery is recommended in many cases where pocketing depths have reached a level that makes maintenance or cleansing difficult. It is often associated with areas of bone loss and inflammation of the gum tissue around the teeth when scaling and root planing have been unsuccessful in eliminating the entire pocket of decay, or when there has been bone loss that needs to be surgically corrected, then a dentist may perform periodontal flap surgery.
In flap surgery, under local anesthesia, small incisions are made in the gum, so that it can be lifted back to expose the tooth and bone. The entire area is carefully cleaned and all tarter and infected granulation tissue are removed and the bone is examined. Because periodontal disease causes bone loss, often the bone will need to be re-contoured in order for the gum to heal properly.
After scraping away the bacteria-laden plaque and tartar, the dentist removes diseased tissue and smoothes the surface of damaged bones. Then the dentist sews the tissue back into place. Removing or smoothing damaged tissue allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.
Click here for Post Op (Self-Care) instructions following Periodontal Flap Surgery
Gingivectomy: This procedure is performed when excess amounts of gum growth around the teeth have occurred. This results in false pocket formation and the inability to keep them clean.
Guided Tissue Regeneration: This procedure is done in combination with a surgical flap operation where gum growth into a defect is barriered off to allow slower growing bone, cementum and ligament cells to populate a bony defect.
Gingivoplasty: Gingivoplasty is a procedure in which we surgically reshape and re-contour the gum tissue for cosmetic, physiological, or functional purposes.
Gingivoplasty is the surgical reshaping of the outer surface of the gums and it's usually done in combination with gingivectomy. The term comes from gingiva meaning gums and the word ending -plasty meaning to reshape. Many patients have a gummy smile which is caused by excessive and overgrown gum tissue. Excess gum tissue can usually be removed to reveal a beautiful smile underneath.
After a gingivectomy procedure, the gingivoplasty procedure thins the remaining gums tissue so the tissue looks natural and pleasing. It's done this using an electrosurgery unit and a specially designed electrical cutting tip. The electrosurgery unit uses electricity to cut the gum tissues and at the same time, causes the gum tissues to clot and stop bleeding.
Gingivoplasty corrects the remaining thick and unnaturally shaped gum tissue left after the gingivectomy procedure exposes the hidden teeth. Natural gum tissue thins as it approaches and surrounds teeth. It can get confusing because the two procedures are almost always used at the same time. These procedures can also be used to reshape irregularly shaped and unattractive gums.
Gingivoplasty procedures are usually done with local anaesthetics. The electrosurgery equipment minimizes bleeding and most patients experience very little post operative pain after the procedure
Non-Surgical Therapy Periodontal Procedures
Scaling : Scaling is procedure that meticulously removes contamination toxins, micro-organisms, plaque, tartar, cementum, dentin that is rough and/or permeated by calculus from around, below and under the gum line down to the bottom of the pocket. This is done to remove biofilm, calculus, and toxin down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket in order to obtain a healing response.
Root Planing: Root planing involves smoothing the root surfaces of your teeth with thin curettes so gum tissue can more firmly reattach to roots that are clean and smooth to prevent tooth loss and sensitivity problems. The procedure makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate along the root surfaces. Because this procedure goes deeper than a regular cleaning, your mouth may be numbed. The cleaning may take two visits to complete. Depending on the extent of the disease you may need one or more sections (quadrants) of the mouth to be treated with scaling and root planing. Treatment may require one or more visits.
Periodontal scaling is a treatment procedure which involves the instrumentation of the crown and root surfaces of the teeth. Plaque, calculus, and stains will be removed from these surfaces. It is performed on patients with periodontal disease and is therapeutic, as apposed to prophylactic and may precede root planning. It is a definitive, meticulous treatment procedure aimed at the removal of cementum and/or dentin that is rough and is possibly permeated by calculus, or even contaminated with toxins or microorganisms. When carried out thoroughly, some unavoidable soft tissue removal occurs. This procedure can be used as a definitive treatment or as part of pre-surgical therapy ("tissue preparation") depending on how far the periodontal disease has advanced. Debriding the root surface is a critical element in establishing periodontal health.
Antibiotics: Because bacteria cause periodontitis antibiotics may be prescribed as pills or as an Antibiotic fiber. The fibers are used in conjunction with scaling and root planing. They are placed directly into the pockets and are removed within 7-10 days later. Antibacterial mouth rinses may also be recommended to help plaque control.
Bite correction: An imbalanced bite may accelerate bone destruction. Your teeth may be adjusted for proper and better function. A Bite-guard (removable retainer fitting over teeth) may be required to protect teeth surfaces and relax tense muscles.
Splinting: This technique attaches weak teeth together, combining them into a stronger single unit, making them more sable and offering more comfortable chewing.
Please contact us to setup a consulation.
(FAQ )Frequently Asked Questions about Preiodontal Disease
Who is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. Periodontists are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. In addition, they can perform cosmetic periodontal procedures to help you achieve the smile you desire. Often, dentists refer their patients to a periodontist when their periodontal disease is advanced. However, you don't need a referral to see a periodontist. In fact, there are occasions when you may choose to go directly to a periodontist or to refer a family member or friend to your own periodontist.
Is there a relationship between tobacco use and periodontal disease?
Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontaldisease. Smokers are much more likely than non-smokers to have calculus form on their teeth, have deeper pockets between the teeth and gums and lose more of the bone and tissue that support the teeth.
What are Causes of Periodontal Disease
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. However, factors like the following also affect the health of your gums.
As you probably already know, tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. What you may not know is that tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease. In fact, recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.
Research proves that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early interceptive treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.
Pregnancy and Puberty
As a woman, you know that your health needs are unique. You know that brushing and flossing daily, a healthy diet, and regular exercise are all important to help you stay in shape. You also know that at specific times in your life, you need to take extra care of yourself. Times when you mature and change, for example, puberty or menopause, and times when you have special health needs, such as menstruation or pregnancy. During these particular times, your body experiences hormonal changes. These changes can affect many of the tissues in your body, including your gums. Your gums can become sensitive, and at times react strongly to the hormonal fluctuations. This may make you more susceptible to gum disease. Additionally, recent studies suggest that pregnant women with gum disease are seven times more likely to deliver preterm, low birth weight babies.
As you probably already know, stress is linked to many serious conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and numerous other health problems. What you may not know is that stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.
Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you otify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dental care provider.
Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Has anyone ever told you that you grind your teeth at night? Is your jaw sore from clenching your teeth when you're taking a test or solving a problem at work? Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.
Diabetes is a disease that causes altered levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes develops from either a deficiency in insulin production (a hormone that is the key component in the body's ability to use blood sugars) or the body's inability to use insulin correctly. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 16 million Americans have diabetes; however, more than alf have not been diagnosed with this disease. If you are diabetic, you are at higher risk for developing infections, including periodontal diseases. These infections can impair the ability to process and/or utilize insulin, which may cause your diabetes to be more difficult to control and your infection to be more severe than a non-diabetic.
As you may already know, a diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body's immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease is a serious infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums.
Other Systemic Diseases
Diseases that interfere with the body's immune system may worsen the condition of the gums.
Is it normal for my gums to bleed when I brush my teeth?
Bleeding gums are one of the signs of gum disease. Think of gum tissue as the skin on your hand. If your hands bled every time you washed them, you would know something was wrong. There are a number of other warning signs of gum disease.
What are pockets?
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming "pockets" around the teeth. Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space in which bacteria can live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.
Could my periodontal disease be genetic?
Research proves that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, thesepeople may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early interventive treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.
Can I pass my periodontal disease to others?
Periodontal disease may be passed from parents to children and between couples, according to an article in the September 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. Researchers suggest that bacteria causing periodontal disease are passed though saliva. This means that when a family or couple come into contact with each other's saliva, they're at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member. Based on this research, the American Academy of Periodontology recognizes that treatment of gum disease may involve entire families. If one family member has periodontal disease, the AAP recommends that all family members see a dental professional for a periodontal disease screening.
What can I do to avoid periodontal disease?
To keep your teeth for a lifetime, you must remove the plaque from your teeth and gums every day with proper brushing and flossing. Regular dental visits are also important. Daily cleaning will help keep calculus formation to a minimum, but it won't completely prevent it. A professional cleaning at least twice a year is necessary to remove calculus from places your toothbrush and floss may have missed.
Other factors can affect the health of your gums.
I'm over 55. Does this mean I'm more likely to get periodontal disease?
Your chances of developing periodontal disease increase considerably as you get older. More than half of people aged 55 and older have periodontitis. The good news is that research suggests that these higher rates may be related to risk factors other than age. So, periodontal disease is not an inevitable part of aging. Risk factors that may make older people more susceptible include general health status, diminished immune status, medications, depression, worsening memory, diminished salivary flow, functional impairments and change in financial status.
When should I see a periodontist?
If you value your oral as well as overall health, anytime is a good time to see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation.
Sometimes the only way to detect periodontal disease is through a periodontal evaluation. A periodontal evaluation may be especially important in the following situations:
- If you notice any symptoms of periodontal disease, including:
- gums that bleed easily, such as during brushing or flossing
- red, swollen or tender gums
- gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- persistent bad breath
- pus between the teeth and gums
- loose or separating teeth
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- If you are thinking of becoming pregnant. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby born too early and too small. In addition, about half of women experience "pregnancy gingivitis." However, women who have good oral hygiene and have no gingivitis before pregnancy are very unlikely to experience this condition.
- If you have a family member with periodontal disease. Research suggests that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means the common contact of saliva in families puts children and couples at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member.
- If you have heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease or osteoporosis. Ongoing research is showing that periodontal disease may be linked to these conditions. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can travel into the blood stream and pose a threat to other parts of the body. Healthy gums may lead to a healthier body.
- If you feel that your teeth are too short or that your smile is too "gummy." Or, if you are missing one or more of your teeth and are interested in a long-lasting replacement option.
- If you are not satisfied with your current tooth replacement option, such as a bridge or dentures, and may be interested in dental implants.
- have a sore or irritation in your mouth that does not get better within two weeks.
What can I expect the first time I visit a periodontist?
During your first visit, your periodontist will review your complete medical and dental history with you. It's extremely important for your periodontist to know if you are taking any medications or being treated for any condition that can affect your periodontal care. You will be given a complete oral and periodontal exam. Your periodontist will examine your gums, check to see if there is any gum line recession, assess how your teeth fit together when you bite and check your teeth to see if any are loose. Your periodontist will also take a small measuring instrument and place it between your teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets. This helps your periodontist assess the health of your gums. Radiographs (x-rays) may be used to show the bone levels between your teeth to check for possible bone loss.
What is Flap and Bone Surgery
When gum is inflamed severely (periodontitis), alveolar bone will be absorbed, and defected. Periodontal ligaments which connect between the alveolar bone and the teeth will disappear. Sever bone lose will cause tooth moving and missing. Flap and bone surgery is order to contour the bone, deeply clean the tooth to reduce the inflammation, and promote bone re-growing and connections firm.
Gingivectomy and Gingivoplasty (Gum Removal) FAQ
My gums have become loose and larger than normal. What's wrong?
Healthy gums, tight against the necks of the teeth, are an important part of a beautiful smile. But sometimes, a problem like this can develop. As the gums extend onto the front surface of the teeth, the natural balance between the length of the teeth and the height of the gums was lost. Your dentist will probably recommend a gingivectomy procedure to reduce your gums.
What is a gingivectomy and what does it entail?
The first step in a gingivectomy, or gum-removal procedure, is making sure that all of the involved areas are completely numb with a local anesthetic. Your dentist then carefully makes a small incision and removes the excess gum tissue. After removing the gum tissue, the doctor will put a temporary putty-like substance over your gum line. This will protect your gums while they heal. You can eat soft foods and drink cool or slightly warm liquids while the putty is in place and your gums are healing.
What is a gingivoplasty?
Gingivoplasty is a procedure in which we surgically reshape and re-contour the gum tissue for cosmetic, physiological, or functional purposes. Gingivoplasty is the surgical reshaping of the outer surface of the gums and it's usually done in combination with gingivectomy. Many patients have a gummy smile which is caused by excessive and overgrown gum tissue. Excess gum tissue can usually be removed to reveal a beautiful smile underneath.
How is a gingivoplasty done?
After a gingivectomy procedure, the gingivoplasty procedure thins the remaining gums tissue so the tissue looks natural and pleasing. It's done this using an electrosurgery unit or a soft tissue laser. The electrosurgery unit uses electricity to cut the gum tissues and at the same time, causes the gum tissues to clot and stop bleeding.
It sounds like one and the same. What is the difference between a gingivoplasty and a typical gingivectomy procedure?
Gingivoplasty corrects the remaining thick and unnaturally shaped gum tissue left after the gingivectomy procedure exposes the hidden teeth. Natural gum tissue thins as it approaches and surrounds teeth. The two procedures are almost always used at the same time. These procedures can also be used to reshape irregularly shaped and unattractive gums.
How long do the effects of a gingivectomy take to heal?
A couple of weeks after the gum removal procedure, the area will be completely healed.
Will I be able to see the results of my gingivectomy right away?
Once your gum removal surgery has healed, you should notice how much more natural this area looks.
I have periodontitis (severe gum disease). Why has my dentist recommended a gingivectomy?
You may need surgery for severe gum disease (periodontitis) if it cannot be cured with antibiotics or root planing and scaling. A gingivectomy removes and reshapes loose, diseased gum tissue to get rid of pockets between the teeth and gums.
It sounds painful. Is it safe?
Gingivectomy and gingivoplasty procedures are usually done with local anesthetics. The electrosurgery equipment minimizes bleeding and most patients experience very little post operative pain after the procedure. A gingivectomy is a safe and predictable way to remove excess gum tissue and improve the natural appearance of your smile.
Oral Care Products
What kinds of oral care products should I use?
Here are some guidelines for choosing dental care products – what works for most patients most of the time. To find out what is best for your particular needs, talk to your periodontist.
- Begin with the right equipment – a soft bristled toothbrush that allows you to reach every surface of each tooth. If the bristles on your toothbrush are bent or frayed, buy a new one. A worn-out brush will not clean your teeth properly.
- In addition to manual toothbrushes, your choices include automatic toothbrushes and "high tech" electronic toothbrushes. These are safe and effective for the majority of patients.
- Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will not remove plaque from your teeth unless used in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
- Another aid is the rubber tip, often found on the handle end of a toothbrush used to massage the gums after brushing and flossing.
- Other options include interproximal toothbrushes (tiny brushes that clean plaque between teeth) and interdental cleaners (small sticks or picks that remove plaque between teeth). If used improperly, these dental aids can injure the gums, so it is important to discuss proper use with your periodontist.
How should I choose oral care products?
Choose products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance – an important symbol of a dental product's safety and effectiveness.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease refers to inflammation of the soft tissue (gingiva) and abnormal loss of bone that surrounds the teeth and holds them in place. Gum disease is the second most common cause of toothache.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by toxins secreted by bacteria in "plaque" that accumulate over time along the gum line. This plaque is a mixture of food, saliva, and bacteria.
What are symptoms of gum disease?
Early symptoms of gum disease include gum bleeding without pain. Pain is a symptom of more advanced gum disease as the loss of bone around the teeth leads to the formation of gum pockets. Bacteria in these pockets cause gum infection, swelling, pain, and further bone destruction. Advanced gum disease can cause loss of otherwise healthy teeth.
How is gum disease treated?
Treatment of early gum disease involves oral hygiene and removal of bacterial plaque. Moderate to advanced gum disease usually requires a thorough cleaning of the teeth and teeth roots called "root planing" and "subgingival curettage." Root planing is the removal of plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from exposed teeth roots while subgingival curettage refers to the removal of the surface of the inflamed layer of gum tissue. Both of these procedures are usually performed under local anesthesia and may be accompanied by the use of oral antibiotics to overcome gum infection or abscess. Follow-up treatment may include various types of gum surgeries. In advanced gum disease with significant bone destruction and loosening of teeth, teeth splinting or teeth extractions may be necessary
- What are the consequences of missing teeth?
There are actually several negative consequences of missing some or all of your teeth. First, missing teeth will affect the esthetics of your face. Not only will your smile be affected by the gaps from missing teeth, but if you’re missing too many teeth, the skin around your mouth won’t be supported properly and will start to sag, making your appear older than you are. Additionally, missing teeth will make it more difficult to chew your food properly and may even affect the way you speak. Finally, missing even one tooth may have emotional consequences; many people feel less confident about their smile when they are missing teeth. If you are currently missing any of your teeth, consider replacing them with dental implants, which can look and feel just like natural teeth. For more information about implants, browse www.perio.org or talk to your periodontist.
- I have big gums and short teeth, so when I smile you can almost only see my gums. I don’t smile very often anymore because I am so self conscious of my gums. Is there a way to improve my smile?
Yes, there may be a way to enhance your smile. It’s a good idea to discuss your options with a periodontist first. He or she can explain the best way to create the smile you want, as well as answer any questions that you may have. For example, one procedure that can remove excess gum tissue is called crown lengthening. After the excess gum tissue is removed, the gum line is then reshaped in order to create the right proportion between gum tissue and tooth surface. Your general dentist and periodontist may also work together to coordinate additional treatments such as veneers or crowns. However, your periodontist and general dentist will recommend the best procedure to improve your smile.
- Is periodontal disease contagious?
Research has shown that periodontal disease is caused by the inflammatory reaction to bacteria under the gums, so periodontal disease technically may not be contagious. However, the bacteria that cause the inflammatory reaction can be spread through saliva. This means that if one of your family members has periodontal disease, it’s a good idea to avoid contact with their saliva by not sharing eating utensils or oral health equipment. If you notice that your spouse or a family member has the warning signs of a possible periodontal problem (bleeding, red and swollen gums, or bad breath) you may want to suggest that they see the periodontist for an exam. It may help to protect the oral health of everyone in the family.
- I was recently diagnosed with periodontal disease. How often should I see my periodontist for an examination?
Regular examinations are very important to keep track of the present status of your disease and any disease progression over time. Your periodontist will work with you to create a maintenance schedule depending on how advanced your periodontal disease is at that time. Based on many variable factors such as your overall health, the severity of bone loss, and risk factors such as smoking and genetics, your periodontist will constantly tailor your care so your periodontal disease does not progress further. He or she may recommend exams every six months for mild periodontal disease, or every few months for more advanced stages.
- Who should treat my periodontal disease: my general dentist or a periodontist?
Instead of leaving your treatment to one dental professional, you should consider having both your general dentist and a periodontist be actively involved in the diagnosis and treatment of your periodontal disease. This team approach will help your general dentist (who is familiar with your dental and medical history) and your periodontist (who has extensive experience treating periodontal disease) collaborate to tailor a treatment plan that works best for your individual case.
- I was recently diagnosed with periodontal disease. My periodontist mentioned that laser surgery would be an appropriate option for my treatment course. Is laser surgery safe? Is it as effective as traditional treatment courses?
There seems to be a lot of mixed messages when it comes to the use of lasers in periodontal treatment. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that any specific laser wavelength is superior to the traditional treatment methods of the common periodontal diseases, such as periodontitis. Therefore, it is always in your best interest to talk with your individual periodontist about the particular laser or therapy he or she plans on using, and why he or she feels that it is the best course of treatment for your particular case. If you still have concerns, you may want to contact another periodontist in your area for a second opinion.
- My periodontist says that he is “board certified.” What does that mean?
All periodontists must complete an additional two to three years of specialized training in periodontics following dental school. However, some periodontists opt to take the board-certification examination, which is offered by the American Board of Periodontology once per year. Board certification in periodontology denotes someone who has made significant achievements beyond the mandatory educational requirements of the specialty, including demonstrating a comprehensive mastery of all phases of periodontal disease and treatment and in the placement of dental implants. Recertification is required every six years.
- I lost a tooth, and I’m interested in replacing it with an implant. How much does the average implant cost?
Due to trade laws the American Academy of Periodontology is unable to track the costs associated with placing implants. In addition, the costs of implants can often vary from urban to rural areas and will depend on how many implants you receive as well as the type of implant. You should discuss the financial and time commitments associated with dental implants with your periodontist. Additionally, you may want to call severalperiodontal offices in your area to find out the average cost associated with the procedure you are looking to have done.
- My dentist told me that I have signs of periodontal disease and that I should see a periodontist for a consultation. How can I find a periodontist in my area?
When you are diagnosed with symptoms of periodontal disease, seeing a periodontist for a consultation is a great first step. There are a few ways to find a periodontist in your area. First, you can ask your dentist for a referral. Your dentist most likely has a periodontist that he or she has worked with in the past, and may even be familiar with the types of services that a particular periodontist specializes in.
You can also find a periodontist on the AAP website. To use the form, enter basic information about where you live and how far you’re willing to travel to see a periodontist. The website will then provide a listing of periodontists in your area.
Finally, you may want to ask friends or family members about their experiences with their periodontists. They will be able to provide feedback and offer advice as well!
- I have heard there is a connection between gum disease and heart disease. Is this true? Where can I find more information?
The connection between gum disease and heart disease is a very hot topic in the field of periodontics right now! Several research studies have indicated that heart disease and gum disease may be linked, and researchers suspect that inflammation may be the basis behind this relationship. If you are at risk for heart disease, it is a good idea to mention this to your periodontist, since gum disease may increase this risk. Get additional information on the connection between heart disease and gum disease, as well as the connection between gum disease and other systemic conditions.
- Is there a link between periodontal disease and diabetes?
Research has suggested that there is a link between diabetes and gum disease. People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal problems, possibly because people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered one of the major complications of diabetes. Interestingly, the relationship between the two conditions goes both ways; just as diabetes can increase a person’s chance of developing periodontal disease, research suggests that efficient and effective periodontal hygiene may positively affect blood sugar levels.
- Both of my parents have periodontal disease, and I’m worried that it may be genetic. Is there a way to determine my risk for developing gum disease?
First of all, congratulations on being proactive about your health! Recent research has shown that genetics may be involved in a person’s risk for gum disease, but there are a variety of other factors that also play a role. The American Academy of Periodontology has an online risk assessment tool that you can use to determine your risk level for gum disease. The test only takes a few minutes to take, and you should discuss the results with your periodontist. Take the gum disease risk assessment test.
- What can I do at home to prevent periodontal disease?
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to take good care of your teeth and gums at home. This includes brushing your teeth after every meal and before bedtime, flossing at least once each day, and seeing your dentist or periodontist for regular exams twice a year. Spending a few minutes a day on preventative measures may save you the time and money of treating periodontal disease!
- My periodontist informed me that I need implants, but I can’t afford them at this time. Is there any financial assistance for periodontal treatments?
There are a few resources you can research for financial assistance. The first is your periodontist. Many periodontists are willing to set up financing options, such as a payment plan. They also may know of insurance plans that can help cover the cost of your implants.
Another resource is your state dental society. They may be able to give a listing of organizations or individuals that may help subsidize the cost of your implants. Find the contact information for your state society.
Finally, contact a local college or university. Many universities have dental schools that offer clinics that provide care at a reduced cost. Select from a list of schools that have periodontal programs.
- What are common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is often silent, meaning symptoms- particularly pain- may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, you should still be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms, which include:
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or when eating certain foods
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your dentist or periodontist right away!Find a periodontist in your area.
- Other than diagnose and treat gum disease, what else have periodontists been trained to do?
Most periodontists spend the majority of their time diagnosing and treating gum disease, but there are a variety other procedures that they are able to perform. Periodontists place dental implants when natural teeth cannot be saved. They also monitor the implants to make sure that they’re properly doing their job. Periodontists may also correct gum recession and cover up exposed root surfaces which can be unsightly as well as sensitive to hot and cold. These procedures are often used to lay the foundation for additional cosmetic procedures to help create a beautiful smile. Finally, periodontists can be integral in the comprehensive planning of your oral care, along with your general dentist or other dental professional.
- Can children be at risk for developing periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is rarely found in children, and only sometimes found in adolescents. However, children should still learn the importance of keeping their teeth and gums healthy to prevent periodontal disease in the future. Children should brush their teeth twice a day and learn how to floss properly- if children learn how to floss at an early age, they will be more likely to make it a lifetime habit. These two simple acts will help protect their teeth and gums from periodontal disease.
As a parent, you should also be aware of the warning signs of periodontal disease, which include red, swollen, bleeding gums or bad breath that won’t go away. If your child develops any of these symptoms, tell your dental professional right away. It’s also a good idea to ensure your dental professional knows your complete family history, as genetics can play an important role in the early development of periodontal disease.