You have been referred to a periodontist:
Your general dentist has determined that your gums require special care and has referred you to a Periodontist. Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gum disease. By referring you to a periodontist, your dentist is showing a strong commitment to optimal dental care.

To help you understand why the treatment might be needed, and how your teeth can be saved, this booklet will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about periodontal therapy. Periodontal disease is the major cause of about 70ercent of adult tooth loss affecting three out of four persons at some point in life.

What is periodontal disease?
The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens into a rough, porous deposit called calculus, or tartar. Toxins (or poisons) produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and can make them red, tender, and swollen and more likely to bleed easily. As the disease progresses, the toxins destroy supporting tissues around teeth, forming pockets that fill with more plaque. Bone that supports the teeth may be permanently damaged. Unless treated, the affected teeth can become loose and eventually lost.

Conscientious removal of plaque by brushing, tossing and professional cleanings can minimize the risks of gum disease. However, other factors can affect the health of your gums, such as hereditary factors, stress, diabetes and pregnancy.

What is a periodontist?
Periodontists have had extensive advanced training in the treatment of periodontal disease, a minimum of two years in addition to dental school. As specialists, they devote their time, energy and skill to helping people who need periodontal treatment. Periodontics is one of the eight specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

What does periodontal treatment involve?
After reviewing your medical and dental history, the periodontist will examine your gums, teeth and mouth. This examination will include looking at the color and firmness of your gums, studying which teeth are loose and checking how much gum tissue has been lost. Necessary radiographs may be taken to evaluate the bone supporting the teeth.

After gathering this information, the periodontist will discuss your condition with you and suggest the most helpful treatment for your dental health.

In the earlier stages of gum disease, most of the treatment involves scaling and root planning, which means removing plaque and calculus in the pockets around the tooth and smoothing the root surfaces. In most cases of early gum disease, scaling, root planning and proper daily cleaning of the teeth are all that are required for a satisfactory result.

More advanced cases may require surgical treatment. The goals of this treatment are to remove calculus from deep pockets around the tooth, smooth root surfaces and arrange gum tissue into a shape that will be easier to keep clean. The periodontist is trained to deal with many varieties of gum disease. Whatever your treatment plan entails, the periodontist's goal is to bring you to a state of good oral health, and then help you maintain it.

Does periodontal treatment hurt?
Improved equipment, local anesthetics and modern techniques make periodontal treatment more comfortable now than ever before. Effective medications (although often not necessary) are available to give you comfort after treatment. As with other aspects of periodontal treatment, considerations for your comfort during and after treatment will be tailored to best suit your individual needs.

How much does the treatment cost?
The cost of the periodontal treatment will vary depending upon your needs. After the periodontist has examined you and determined the appropriate treatment, he or she can provide you with an estimate of the cost. As you consider this health investment, keep in mind that treating gum disease is less costly-and better for your health-than replacing teeth lost to untreated gum disease.

What are the benefits of periodontal treatment?
Periodontal treatment is an investment in your health. Treating periodontal problems will help you achieve a healthy mouth and help prevent tooth loss. In fact, with prompt treatment, proper home care and regular dental visits, the great majority of patients can keep their teeth for a lifetime.

What is the relationship between the general dentist and the periodontist?
Your dentist and periodontist work together as a team to provide you with the best possible care. They will combine their experience to formulate the best treatment plan for you while keeping each other informed about your progress.

After active periodontal treatment is completed, the periodontist will refer you back to your general dentist, but may also see you periodically for follow-up care and periodontal treatment.

First step.
After contacting our office for an appointment, you will receive a map to our office plus a medical history form for you to fill out and bring with you. We look forward to working with you. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us.

Athens, GA
700 Oglethorpe Ave. Suite A3
Athens, GA 30606
Phone: (706)-549-5604
Fax: (706) 549-6876