Frequently Asked Questions – Periodontics

There are many questions that may cross your mind as you look into receiving periodontal treatment. Below is a list of some common questions we often are asked, as well as the answers to these questions. If you have a question about periodontics, an upcoming surgery, or anything related to your dental health, please don’t hesitate to call us. We are happy to answer any questions you have.

Q.

Is all gum treatment surgical?

A.

The appropriate form of gum treatment, surgical or non-surgical, is based on an accurate diagnosis as well as the patient’s treatment goals.  As a prospective patient, this is best understood following a thorough examination, followed by a discussion of the treatment alternatives with a clinician, usually a periodontist, who is educated in all forms of gum disease and well-versed in the appropriate use of treatment techniques available.

Q.

Can gum disease be treated if a patient is on blood thinners?

A.

Yes.  All forms of gum treatment can be performed for patients taking blood thinners.  Depending on the specific drug, adjustments to dosage may be made.  This is decided by the dentist/periodontist in consultation with the physician.

Patients who are on or will be taking blood thinners should be certain to have healthy gums.  Diseased gums may bleed spontaneously or with slight provocation.

Q.

Can gum disease cause bad breath?

A.

Yes.  In terms of sources in the mouth, the type of bacteria, the amount of bacteria under the gums as well as tooth decay can be responsible for halitosis (bad breath).  A complete dental examination can determine if any of these factors are contributing or the sole cause.

Q.

If I have gum disease, should I consult a specialist?

A.

Yes.  There are many varieties of gum disease.  Identifying all causative factors may be challenging but is essential in determining the appropriate treatment.  The specialist, the periodontist, is trained to discriminate

Q.

If my gums do not bleed, could I still have gum disease?

A.

Yes.  Bleeding gums may or may not be an indication of gum disease.  This question raises more questions.  If bleeding is noticed: is it spontaneous, does it occur during chewing, does it occur while brushing or flossing, is it noted during a dental examination or procedure?  Many people with advanced gum disease never have bleeding, particularly patients who smoke.  Bleeding of the gums may, in fact, not be gum disease but a result of a medical condition or medication.

The most effective means of understanding the health status of one’s gums is to have a comprehensive periodontal examination with a proper assessment and explanation of the findings.

Q.

Can the appearance of my smile and teeth be improved by treating my gums?

A.

The health of the gums does affect appearance. The color of unhealthy gums may be unattractive and detract from the natural beauty of the teeth. At times unhealthy gums are excessive, therefore being too noticeable when smiling and may cover teeth, making them appear too small.

Even when the gums are healthy and you have a big smile, too much of the gums can be revealed.  This “gummy smile” can be improved by reducing the gum and exposing more of the tooth. Another condition, where too much of the tooth is revealed when smiling, may also be correctable.  If the gums have receded revealing the roots of the tooth, techniques are available to move the gum to a normal position.

Q.

What else should I know about my surgical treatment?

A.

Many questions arise after surgical treatment.  We provide each patient with written instructions regarding post operative care and activities.

Q.

When can I eat after surgery?

A.

Typically, you can eat 45 minutes to 1 hour after surgery.  Hot liquids should be avoided for the first 48 hours.

Q.

When can I exercise after surgery?

A.

Depending on the specific procedure, you can exercise 2-4 days following surgery.

Don’t see an answer you need?

A number of the FAQs listed here are related to medical conditions that patients have or medical treatments they are, or are about to be, receiving. This emphasis may be a result of the dual specialty in this practice: Periodontics & Oral Medicine PA.  One aspect of the practice of oral medicine is managing dental treatment for people with medical conditions and related treatment, to ensure the best possible outcome for each individual. Did you have a question that we weren’t able to answer, above? Give us a call today to set up an appointment, we can address any questions you have about your dental health and needs.

Have more questions? Call us to set up an appointment today!