1. I have periodontal disease. What happens next?
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you probably have some questions about your treatment. Be assured that periodontists believe that periodontal therapy should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective way possible; this includes nonsurgical therapy.
To Read More About Periodontal Disease Treatments, Click Here.
2. What is periodontal disease?
The word “periodontal” literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal diseases are bacterial gum infections that destroy the gums and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. Periodontal diseases can affect one tooth or many teeth. The main cause of periodontal diseases is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it can turn into a hard substance called calculus or tartar in less than two days. Tartar is so hard it can only be removed by an oral health professional, such as a dentist or dental hygienist. The bacteria in plaque infect the gums, and release poisons that cause redness and inflammation (irritation). The inflammation and the poisons themselves cause destruction of the tissues that support the teeth, including the bone. When this happens, the gums separate microscopically from the teeth, forming pockets that fill with even more plaque causing even more infection.
3. What are the signs of periodontal disease?
Periodontal diseases are often silent, meaning that symptoms may not materialize until significant bone loss has occurred. Some people may have periodontitis and not experience any symptoms and be unaware that they have disease.
Common symptoms and signs of periodontal diseases include:
• Red, Swollen, or Tender Gums
• Bleeding while Brushing or Flossing
• Gums Pulling Away from the Teeth, Making Teeth Appear Longer
• Loose or Separating Teeth
• Pus Between the Gum and Tooth
• Persistent Bad Breath
• A Change in the Way Your Teeth Fit Together When You Bite
• A Change in the Fit of Partial Denture
4. What Insurance Plans do you accept?
Our office is a participating provider with the following insurance companies:
- Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield
5. What is your policy regarding appointment cancellations?
We request you give 24-HOUR NOTICE if you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment and 48-HOUR NOTICE for scheduled surgical appointments. Due to patient demand for appointment times, we will be unable to reschedule your appointment after 2 consecutive cancellations without sufficient notice. Rather, we will place you on a “cancellation list” and contact you when we have an available appointment.
6. Why won’t my insurance cover all my treatment?
The intent of all dental insurance plans is the same: to help pay a portion of the cost of dental care. Sorting through the complexities of different insurance plans, however, can be difficult. Ultimately, patients are responsible for knowing what their individual coverage is. Plan sponsors (usually the employer) are required to provide information detailing what is and what is not covered. Keep in mind that most plans limit the yearly dollar amount that will be paid.
7. Why do I need a Full Mouth Series of X-Rays (FMX), and how often do I need and FMX?
A full mouth series of X-rays is indicated to accurately diagnose the presense and extent of periodontal disease. Digital radiographic images are taken to examine every tooth. Usually the series consists of 16 to 20 images. “Bite-wing” and “Panoral” X-rays are not accurate enough X-rays to diagnose periodontal disease.
A full series of X-rays should be repeated every 3 to 4 years to document and detect any changes in your periodontal health, and this recommended interval may vary with each patient’s periodontal condition. Keep in mind, even with regular clinical exams, periodontal disease can progress and be difficult to detect. Digital X-rays provide a very accurate tool to monitor your periodontal health.
8. What should I expect during my first visit?
During your first visit you can expect the following:
- Information gathering of you medical and dental histories
- Examination of the oral tissues and teeth.
- Evaluation of your occlusion or bite.
- Measurements of “pockets”, the space between your gums and teeth. Pocket depths are recorded in millimeters with a tiny probe that is gently inserted between teeth and gum. The depth of the pocket determines areas of active periodontal disease. Depths of 1 to 3 mm are usually associated with health. Deeper pockets indicate periodontal disease.
- Measurements of gum recession, or how much the gum has moved away from its normal position on the tooth crown. If gum recession is present, your teeth appear “longer”. This is a sign of periodontal disease.
- Mobility of the teeth is checked.
- Appropriate digital X-rays are taken
- Your periodontal diagnosis and treatment recommendations will be discussed.
- When possible, oral hygiene techniques will be demonstrated
9. What is LANAP?
LANAP, or “Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure”, is an alternative surgical treatment to traditional gum surgery using a specialized laser. It is used to treat periodontal disease, reduce pockets, and regenerate new fibers and bone around teeth. The laser targets diseased gum tissues without harming healthy ones. The LANAP procedure helps connective tissue and bone form between the gums and teeth. This regenerative procedure is more conservative than traditional gum surgery, less invasive, and results in a faster and less painful recovery. The LANAP technique is the only FDA-cleared, laser-based treatment for gum disease.
10. Will my insurance cover LANAP or laser surgery?
Insurance will typically cover either traditional periodontal surgery or laser assisted surgery.
11. What are dental implants? Am I a candidate?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason. If you still have questions after reading this information, have a conversation with your periodontist.
12. Do I really need to floss every day?
One of the easiest ways to help prevent gum disease is to brush and floss every day, so therefore it is very important to know the correct way to take care of your teeth and gums. It does not matter if you brush first or floss first, as long as you do both (twice a day!).
To Read More About Brushing and Flossing Daily, Click Here