Frequently Asked Questions
Reports from The American Academy of Periodontology tell us that there is an association between periodontal diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about Periodontics, treatments and the practice at Cape Cod Perio.
WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in calculus (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.
What is Gingivitis?
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.
What is Periodontitis?
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, calculus 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.
WHAT IS POCKET DEPTH REDUCTION?
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth. When you have periodontal disease, the supporting gum tissue and bone deteriorates, forming “pockets” around the teeth. If your pockets have reached a depth that makes it impossible for you and your hygienist to properly clean your teeth, Dr. Nguyen may recommend pocket depth reduction treatment. During this procedure, the gum tissue is folded back to allow bacteria and calculus to be completely removed. As needed, the doctor may apply growth factors to stimulate regeneration of the bone before securing the gum tissue back in place. Most patients are back to their normal routine the same day as their treatment.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LASER THERAPY?
LANAP or Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, utilizes safe, FDA approved laser technology to gently remove harmful bacteria and diseased tissue from the gums while leaving the healthy tissue intact for reattachment purposes. Because of its less invasive nature, there are a number of benefits that LANAP offers over traditional surgery. Less pain and faster recovery are among the top advantages of LANAP. Treatment time and follow up is about half of traditional surgery. Because the laser treatment causes instant clotting it actually seals the gum tissue that creates a barrier to any new bacteria that might get introduced to the gums in the future.
LANAP actually helps the bone supporting your teeth to regenerate. This laser-based approach to treating gum disease makes it easier for you to return your gums to health and the process is far more comfortable than gum surgery.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING AND AFTER LASER TREATMENT?
A local anesthetic is given before the treatment to eliminate any possible discomfort. During the procedure a tiny laser fiber (about the thickness of three hairs) is inserted between the tooth and the gum and the infection is cleared away. The sense of recovery is immediate, due to the laser’s ability to seal blood vessels, lymphatics and nerve endings. Of course, your tissue needs time to recover, regenerate and heal over the course of time, but after the Laser Procedure treatment, you can drive your car, go back to work, or do anything else you like. If necessary, Dr. Nguyen will prescribe an oral antibiotic as a precaution against infection. A soft diet for a day or two is recommended, but most patients are able to eat anything they want right after the procedure.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM I A CANDIDATE FOR DENTAL IMPLANT SURGERY?
If you are in good general health, have healthy gums, adequate bone in your jaw to support the implant and are committed to good oral hygiene and regular exams, you are a good candidate for implant treatment. At Cape Cod Perio we take cone beam CT scans of your jaw so you will know if you are a candidate while you are here.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM IMPLANT TREATMENT?
Working in the state-of-the-art facility at Cape Cod Perio, the treatment will be performed as an out-patient surgery, under local anesthetic. With the guidance of 3-D imaging, the implant, which is shaped like a cylinder, is placed into the bone, creating the foundation for your new replacement tooth.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER IMPLANT SURGERY?
Dr. Nguyen and the staff at Cape Cod Perio will provide you with detailed postoperative instructions. Though rarely needed, pain relief medicine and oral antibiotics may be prescribed to help speed the recovery process. Most patients are pleasantly surprised with how little discomfort they feel after the treatment.
ARE THERE OPTIONS FOR SEDATION?
Some patients need or request sedation to alleviate anxiety associated with treatment. Dr. Nguyen will discuss all available sedation options with you and together you’ll determine what is best for your case. If you are a candidate for sedation, a board certified Anesthesiologist will join the doctor to administer and monitor your sedation.
AM I A CANDIDATE FOR SOFT TISSUE GRAFT?
Gum recession can happen as a result of a variety of causes, including periodontal diseases and overly aggressive brushing. Sometimes gum recession causes the tooth root to become exposed, which makes your teeth look long and can make you look older than you are. Exposed roots are unappealing and can leave you at risk of developing cavities on your tooth root or may progress to further gum disease, bone loss and eventual tooth loss. A soft tissue graft will help you repair and hopefully prevent further recession and bone loss.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING SOFT TISSUE GRAFT TREATMENT?
Before the procedure, a local anesthetic will be given to numb the areas involved. You may also receive medicine to help you relax. During the treatment gum tissue from your palate or another donor source is taken to cover the exposed root. Procedures using tissue from the patient’s palate provide optimum results. However, Dr. Nguyen will discuss all advanced biomaterial options with you and together you’ll determine the specialized care that is best for you.
Healing times are relatively short. You will need to take extra care of the surgical area for several days until the grafted gum tissue has begun to heal. While it may take a week or two for your mouth to fully heal, you should be able to return to work or normal activity the day after surgery.
WHY DO I NEED TO REBUILD ORAL BONE AND REGENERATE GUM TISSUE?
If the bone and gum tissue supporting your teeth has been lost due to disease, injury or improper brushing, it may be possible to restore what has been lost using new techniques in bone and tissue regeneration. Dr. Nguyen uses the most advanced technologies available today to achieve healthy regeneration of bone and tissue, limiting the amount of surgery and reducing the time needed to heal. With a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care, you’ll increase the chances of keeping your natural teeth and decrease the chances of health problems associated with periodontal disease.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CROWN LENGTHENING?
During crown lengthening, excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth or several to even your gum line. Whether you have gum reshaping to improve function or aesthetics, patients often receive the benefits of both a beautiful new smile and improved periodontal health.
HOW DOES CAPE COD PERIO HANDLE INSURANCE?
Dr. Nguyen is not only committed to providing excellent periodontal care, but realizes that it must be affordable. If you have a dental insurance plan we will complete and submit your claim forms so that your insurance company will reimburse you according to the provisions of your policy. Every policy is different so please contact your provider for your coverages. We are providers for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Delta Dental.