Q? What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
A. Periodontal Disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. This disease can be categorized into two main groups; Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
There are many forms of periodontitis. The most common ones include the following.
Aggressive periodontitis occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction and familial aggregation.
Chronic periodontitis results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss. This is the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis and is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.
Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases often begins at a young age. Systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes are associated with this form of periodontitis.
Necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression.
Q? Am I at risk for Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
A. Take the test to find out!
Q? Can gum disease be associated with my medical conditions?
A. Research has shown that periodontal disease is associated with several other diseases. For a long time it was thought that bacteria was the factor that linked periodontal disease to other disease in the body; however, more recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible for the association. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
Q? What are some other reasons I would need to see a Periodontal Specialist?
A. Periodontists are dentistry’s experts in treating periodontal disease. They receive up to three additional years of specialized training in periodontal disease treatment in both non-surgical treatments (deep cleanings and maintaining gum health) and periodontal plastic surgery procedures. Periodontists are also experts in replacing missing teeth with dental implants.
Here are some periodontal treatments offered at our practice:
Q? Will it hurt?
A. Your first comprehensive periodontal exam can be completed with little to no discomfort. Dr. Cohen will be as gentle as possible and will cater to your concerns with discomfort and apprehensiveness prior to your surgical appointment. Dr. Cohen is licensed in administering oral conscious sedation medication to relieve any anxiety during the procedure, ensuring a calm and comfortable environment until completion of your treatment.
Q? Is surgery absolutely necessary?
A. Not everyone needs periodontal surgery. If treated early, gum disease can be controlled without surgery. Dr. Cohen will make recommendations based on your individual needs. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals.
It is also important to keep in mind that periodontal disease is a progressive, painless infection. Delay can cause you further bone loss, more expense, and the loss of your teeth.
The earlier periodontal disease is controlled and maintained, the stronger the likelihood of saving your existing teeth will be.
Q? Is periodontal therapy expensive?
A.Every patient with periodontal disease is different. During your initial visit with us, Dr. Cohen will complete your examination before establishing your treatment plan and the fee for such care. The fee for periodontal treatment can vary considerably depending on the type of problems and the complexity and length of treatment. An estimated fee can usually be determined at the initial visit. On occasion, further diagnostics must be completed before the final treatment plan and cost can be determined.
If you have dental insurance, policies often cover periodontal treatment, but there is no guarantee of coverage. Dr. Cohen is a proud provider of multiple insurance carriers that cover a multitude of procedures. Please bring all medical and dental benefit information and cards to your examination appointment. As a courtesy, we will submit a claim to predetermine your insurance benefits.
Patients must acknowledge that they are responsible for all costs incurred at our office which are not covered by their insurance.
If you have financial constraints, please inquire about our various financing options for your recommended treatment.