A periodontist specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of periodontal disease, as well as dental implant placement. Periodontists have completed 4 years of dental school and have received an additional 3 years of training to obtain the necessary education to perform procedures in periodontics. Your general dentist may refer you to a periodontist if you exhibit the symptoms of gum disease or need a dental implant; however, you may schedule an appointment on your own if you have concerns about your oral health.
Becoming a Patient
It means that we work in partnership with your general dentist, hygienists, other dental specialists and physicians to improve your oral and overall health.
The health of your teeth and gums affects every aspect of your life. If you are in pain, embarrassed about your teeth, or unable to talk or eat properly, we are here to help you achieve and maintain good oral health. Working closely with your dentist and/or other oral care providers, we can focus both on your immediate needs and your long-term goals and expectations. This approach also enables us to treat more complex dental problems that not only threaten an attractive smile but can also affect your overall health.
Inflammatory periodontal disease is among the chronic diseases of aging, which also include: Cancer, Osteoporosis, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Research finds that Periodontitis may affect as many as half of Americans over the age of 30.* Early intervention prevents the progression of periodontal and other inflammatory diseases.* While these facts support periodontal therapy as a medical necessity, we believe such care should be part of personalized medicine. Periodontal Medicine Surgical Specialists identifies each patient’s unique needs and creates an individualized plan of care that is personalized, preventative, predicable and proven.
The doctors at Periodontal Medicine Surgical Specialists have board-certified specialty-based training, the clinical experience and surgical expertise to help you achieve the best possible oral health.
Your First Visit
We want to extend to you a warm welcome to our periodontal and dental implant practice. Our staff enthusiastically cares about providing you with top quality care. We also want to make your visit to our office as pleasant and as comfortable as possible.
The following information will be very useful to you in preparing for your first visit:
The Patient's Role
No matter how successful the periodontal treatment has been, the patient is the most important part in maintaining periodontal health. For maximum results, the patient must accept this role as a “co-therapist.”
The first charge to the patient is to eliminate factors that increase susceptibility to periodontal disease. The prime culprit is smoking, which increases the odds of losing teeth by 700%! Patients with diabetes are also more susceptible, although this effect is negligible if the blood sugar remains stable. Healthy diets promote good overall health and therefore a patient’s periodontal health and ability to heal. However, there is no evidence that adding high doses of specific vitamins or supplements to an already healthy diet will have any impact on periodontal disease or healing.
The second responsibility of the patient is to maintain daily plaque control, with brushing and flossing. Brushing is easy for most of us, but flossing is more demanding. Most periodontal disease, however, starts between the teeth, where the brush cannot reach.
Lastly, the patient is responsible for scheduling regular periodontal maintenance. The frequency is determined by the periodontist and dentist, and is critical! Most patients with moderate and advanced cases should have periodontal maintenance appointments alternating with both the periodontist and dentist, every three months for their lifetime. Staying faithful to this schedule is very important.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a periodontist? Do I need one?
- What is periodontal disease, and am I at risk of developing it?
The term “periodontal” simply means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth. Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease often is attributed to the bacteria in dental plaque, which cause the gums to become inflamed and infected. Other factors, such as smoking or tobacco use, poor nutrition, stress or pregnancy, may put you at risk of developing gum disease.
- Is periodontal disease contagious?
Although it is not an airborne disease, research has indicated that the bacteria that cause gum disease can be passed through saliva. Therefore, families and couples who may be in close contact with a person with gum disease are also at risk. We recommend being screened for periodontal disease regularly if you are potentially at risk, particularly if you have a family history of periodontal disease or tooth loss.
- My gums bleed when I brush my teeth. Is this normal?
Healthy gums should not bleed when you brush your teeth. This is one of the early signs of gum disease. You should schedule an appointment with your periodontist for a complete periodontal screening.
- Are there ways to prevent periodontal disease?
A good oral hygiene regimen is imperative in preventing periodontal disease. Proper brushing and flossing, in conjunction with regular dental visits for professional cleaning twice a year, will help keep your smile healthy for life. If you have periodontal disease that is treated, research clearly demonstrates that professional cleanings should be performed every 3 months to maintain disease stability.
- Are dental implants the best restoration option?
Your periodontists at Periodontal Medicine and Surgical Specialists, LTD can determine if dental implants are the best restoration option for your individual case. Dental implants have a natural look and feel and can help prevent shifting of surrounding teeth. Implants are often preferred to bridges and dentures because they are more secure.
- If I have periodontal disease, do I need surgery? What are my options?
Whether you need surgery or not will depend on how advanced your periodontal disease is. There are non-surgical treatments, such as root scaling and planing available, for those with mild gum disease. If you are in the advanced stages of gum disease, you may benefit from having surgery. With the latest technology and advanced techniques available today, many surgical procedures can be performed in an office setting with little discomfort.
- What is maintenance therapy?
Maintenance therapy is used to help prevent further infection from occurring in patients who have already received periodontal treatment. Periodontal Medicine and Surgical Specialists, LTD will tailor a program to fit your needs, which will include periodontal checkups, plaque and tartar removal and sometimes polishing your teeth or checking your bite. The frequency of visits varies from case to case from every few weeks to four times per year.
- I have a ``gummy`` smile. What can be done to correct this?
A procedure called esthetic crown enhancement can correct “gummy” smiles. “Gummy” smiles make teeth appear too short because either the gum &/or supporting bone did not passively repositon lower around the tooth after its eruption into the mouth. With esthetic crown enhancement, the gums and supporting tissues are reshaped/repositioned to expose the natural length & form of the tooth.
- My gums are receding and my teeth appear ``long``. Can this be fixed?
If left untreated, gum recession can lead to tooth loss. Soft tissue grafts can fix this condition and also prevent further recession or bone loss. In the procedure, gum tissue is taken from your palate or another donor source. This tissue is then placed over the exposed roots, which helps to even out the gum line and reduce sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
Patient Educational Resources
We have compiled additional educational resources for our patients based on common issues or questions we see in our offices. Please review the following documents for additional information.
• Prophylactic Antibiotics
The use of Prophylactic Antibiotics Prior to Dental Procedures in Patients with Prosthetic Joints (pdf)
Evidence Based on Clinical Practice Guidelines from the American Dental Association Counsel on Scientific Affairs
• Prophylactic Antibiotics
Prevention of Infective Endocarditis (pdf)
Guidelines from the American Heart Association
• Smoking Cessation Program at Lutheran General Hospital
Smoking Cessation Program (pdf)
Advocate Medical Group
• Periodontal & Peri-Implant Maintenance
Peri – Implant Maintenance in the Specialists Office After Implant Treatment (pdf)
• Periodontal & Peri-Implant Maintenance
Periodontal Maintenance in the Specialists Office After Surgical Treatment (pdf)
• Periodontal Disease
Can Fixing the Gums Save the Heart (pdf)