Periodontal FAQ

What is Periodontal Disease?

It is an inflammation of the gums that affects the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth. It is most commonly caused by bacteria in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on teeth. If not removed, the plaque builds up and the bacteria infects the teeth, gums, and eventually the bone.

What are common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?

Progression of periodontal disease may go unnoticed. Symptoms such as pain may not appear until an advanced stage of disease. However, you should be aware of signs such as:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Change in the way your teeth fit together or in the fit of your partial denture

Can Periodontal disease impact my systemic health?

Yes. Bacteria linked to gum disease can travel throughout the body and negatively impact different organ systems. Research studies have shown that patients with gums disease have a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes, and other negative health outcomes.

is periodontal disease genetic?

It can be. Research suggests that between 30-50% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Certain ethnic groups may also be more susceptible to periodontal disease.

Is Gum Disease related to age?

A person of any age can have gum disease, but it is most common in adults. Forms of gums disease affecting children can be very aggressive.

how is periodontal disease treated?

Treatment often begins with initial therapy to halt disease progression. Surgical therapy may be recommended to repair loss of supporting bone or gum tissue.

Will It Hurt?

We will be as gentle as possible. The periodontal exam can be completed with little or no discomfort. During periodontal treatment, local anesthesia is used to minimize pain. Post-treatment pain is controlled with both over the counter and prescription medicines. Most people are able to go back to work and resume their normal activities the next day.

Do I Need X-Rays?

We will need current periodontal x-rays in order to see disease not otherwise visible. If your referring dentist has taken x-rays, you may request that they be forwarded to us.

What Will It Cost?

Since all patients are different, your periodontist must complete your examination before establishing your treatment plan and the fee for care. The fee for periodontal treatment can vary considerably depending on the type of problems and the complexity and length of treatment. An approximate fee can usually be determined at the initial visit; but on occasion, some initial treatment or further diagnostics must be completed before the final treatment plan can be established. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals.

Will I Need Surgery?

Not everyone needs periodontal surgery. If treated early, gum disease can be controlled without surgery. We will make recommendations based on your individual situation. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals.

Can I be sedated for treatment?

Most patients do not require sedation for treatment; however, oral and intravenous sedation are available for patient comfort. Each patient will be evaluated individually prior to any form of sedation dentistry.

Can My Teeth Be Saved?

The recent advances in periodontal treatment allow us to successfully treat most teeth.

When Will I Go Back To My General Dentist?

Our office and your dentist will work closely together. If crowns and fillings are needed your dentist will provide them. Regular visits to your dentist are an important part of periodontal maintenance.

What If I Don’t Have Gum Treatment?

Periodontal disease is a progressive, painless infection. Delay can cause you further bone loss and more expense. If your teeth are lost, dentures are never as effective as your own natural teeth.Treatment of periodontal disease not only stops the infection but also addresses the bone loss that occurs with the disease process. This improves the health within the mouth and allows for healthy reconstruction of the teeth. There is also a correlation between periodontal disease and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, low birth weight babies and premature babies, to name a few. Treatment of the periodontal infection, therefore, may improve the overall systemic health as well.