Many of your concerns and questions are shared by previous patients, so we have compiled a list of the most common questions.

What should I expect during my first appointment?

Are X-Rays really necessary?

What is Periodontal Disease?

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

Why should I have treatment?

What is a dental implant?

How is a dental implant different from a dental bridge?

How long does the Dental Implant process take?

What are gum and soft tissue grafts?

What is pocket depth reduction?

What causes TMJ pain?

Am I going to be awake during my periodontal procedure? Will I need a driver for my appointment?

What will my recovery after periodontal treatment be like?

Will my insurance cover my periodontal or implant treatment?

Am I too old for implant or periodontal therapy?

Why has home fluoride therapy been recommended to me?

Why do I need periodontal cleanings at my periodontist? Why are they more frequent than every 6 months, which is what my insurance will cover?

What should I expect during my first appointment? back
In most cases your general dentist referred you. Since he/she is fully aware of your existing condition, we work closely together with your dentist’s office to ensure you get the best possible care. During your first visit, you'll receive a periodontal exam to evaluate bone loss around your teeth. X-rays might also be taken to further assess your condition.

Are X-Rays really necessary? back
X-rays are necessary to detect decay between teeth and areas not visible to the naked eye. Since gum and bone problems happen slowly over time, they are often not felt or detected from the surface. X rays are also necessary for detecting bone loss and infections at root surfaces. Many people are understandably concerned about excessive radiation. Incredible Smiles takes digital radiographs, which use 80% less radiation than conventional techniques.

What is Periodontal Disease? back
Periodontal Disease is loss of bone surrounding teeth, usually a “silent” process until later stages of disease progression when tooth looseness occurs and/or secondary tooth nerve infections occurs. Pocketing occurs when bone loss occurs beneath gum tissues, resulting in a space or “pocket” between gum height and diminished bone height around teeth. Periodontal disease is caused by the presence of certain bacteria, and is exacerbated by medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hormonal fluctuations (such as pregnancy), and respiratory disease as well as by smoking and the use of certain medications. Periodontal disease is usually very treatable, particularly if caught early in its progression.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease? back
Since periodontal disease attacks below the gum line, you probably won't experience any noticeable symptoms at first. With gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease, the gums redden, become swollen & sensitive, plus they bleed easily when brushed. Without treatment, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis where more serious symptoms manifest with:

  • toxic bacteria producing bad breath
  • progressive and destructive infection
  • degeneration of supportive tissues and bone
  • gums receding from teeth forming deep pockets around them
  • loosening and/or shifting of the teeth
  • eventual extraction and tooth loss

Why should I have treatment? back
Saving your teeth has many benefits, including preserving chewing function as well as facial/dental esthetics. Additionally, seeking periodontal treatment will improve your overall health by eliminating serious bacterial infections.

Besides bacterial infection, gum and bone deterioration and tooth loss, periodontal disease can cause other ill health issues. As periodontal bacteria gets into surrounding bone, it then has an entry point into the blood stream and can contribute to a host of serious medical problems. Recent studies have confirmed that patients with periodontal disease are two times more likely to suffer heart disease and stroke. Periodontal infections have also been linked to:

  • premature childbirth
  • diabetes
  • respiratory disease
  • transmission of periodontal infections to family members

What is a dental implant? back
This is a surgical procedure designed to replace a missing tooth. An dental implant is a titanium cylinder that is placed in the bone and replaces what was once the root of the tooth. A crown is attached to the implant to simulate an individual tooth.

How is a dental implant different from a dental bridge? back
A dental implant literally replaces a missing tooth. A dental implant simulates the root of a tooth to which the cosmetic dentist attaches a cosmetic tooth. A dental bridge, on the other hand, is non-surgical and uses the adjacent teeth to support a new cosmetic tooth. A dental implant is not invasive to surrounding teeth (especially desirable if they are healthy and in good condition). By simulating the root, it engages the bone and keeps it healthy. Because a dental implant is an individual tooth it is also easier to floss. A dental bridge can be a good choice if the adjacent teeth are in need of restoration.

How long does the Dental Implant process take? back
Once a person is deemed a good candidate for dental implants, then there is one visit to surgically place the implant. Some applications are ready for immediate restoration, others may be required to wait anywhere from 3 to 6 months for bone growth to solidify around the implant to anchor it. At this point the implant can be restored to completion.

What are gum and soft tissue grafts? back
Soft tissue grafts are used to reduce gum recession, cover exposed roots protecting them from decay and to enhance the appearance of your smile. Gum tissue is taken from your palate or another area of the mouth and grafts it to the receding gum line in order to cover any exposed roots.

What is pocket depth reduction? back
Periodontal disease destroys gum tissues and bone which support your teeth creating “pockets” around them. Without treatment, these pockets become deeper, providing more space in which bacteria can thrive. As more bacteria develops around the teeth, it can accumulate to the point where further bone and tissue degeneration results in tooth loss.

What causes TMJ pain? back
The Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the “hinge” that functions when the jaw opens and closes. There are many theories and practices to treating TMJ pain. Every TMJ dentist will have his or her own theory on TMJ treatment. People will often report neck and upper back pain, headaches, sore muscles and even migraines. Neuromuscular dentistry practices under the premise that when the teeth are shortened (either by wear, grinding, old age, clenching or even the cumulative effects of large amounts of dentistry) then the jaw over-closes causing stress and pressure in the TMJ. By restoring the vertical dimension to the teeth or by positioning a carefully fitted orthotic optimal health and function is restored to the TMJ. Many people suffering from TMJ pain have found relief using the techniques and theories of neuromuscular dentistry.

Am I going to be awake during my periodontal procedure? Will I need a driver for my appointment? back
Local anesthesia will be used, rather than general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, so you will not be “put to sleep”. However, your treatment will be customized to meet your needs, and may include the use of oral antianxiety medication, in which case you will need to have a driver for your treatment session.

What will my recovery after periodontal treatment be like? back
Unsurprisingly, recovery experience varies from person to person, as well as being dependent upon treatment received. However, peak inflammation occurs at 48 hours post-treatment, and this period is most critical for your following recommended medication and post-operative instructions reviewed with you. Most pain and discomfort is manageable and oftentimes avoidable. Also, careful planning/scheduling for being able to “take it easy” for 1-2 days post-treatment will optimize your experience and speed your recovery.

Will my insurance cover my periodontal or implant treatment? back
This depends upon your insurance policy. Some insurance companies are proving dental implant benefits. Our skilled staff will file your insurance claim with necessary supporting documentation for you, and we will do our utmost to research and explain your dental insurance benefits and limitations to you.

Am I too old for implant or periodontal therapy? back
No one is ever too old to be healthy! Eliminating periodontal infections will obviously only improve overall health. With regards to tooth replacement via implant therapy… seeking a personalized consultation to obtain information will help you make the decision which is right for you!

Why has home fluoride therapy been recommended to me? back
Fluoride is antibacterial, and also remineralizes root surfaces, which decreases root hypersensitivity and prevents decay on root surfaces which lack enamel protection.

Why do I need periodontal cleanings at my periodontist? Why are they more frequent than every 6 months, which is what my insurance will cover? back
Periodontal disease-causing bacteria reappear every 3-4 months, particularly in areas inaccessible to toothbrushing and flossing, so regular professional periodontal cleanings are needed to combat disease/infection recurrence. Additionally, infections can be detected and managed before pain and/or tooth loss result. Insurance companies will often provide coverage for dental hygiene sessions for non-periodontal patients, at a 6 month interval, which is inadequate care for periodontal patients. A periodontal maintenance interval which is appropriate to meet your individualized needs will be recommended to you as an essential part of your periodontal/implant therapy. Periodontal maintenance therapy is key to optimizing your health, your treatment outcome, and your investment in yourself!