Frequently Asked Questions

First Visit

Q:  Does my insurance have coverage for periodontal treatment and  or exams?

A: Most dental benefit plans will assist you. Check  your plan for specific restrictions and limitations. 

Q: I recently had X-rays taken by my general dentist. Can you use  these, or do you have to take new ones?

A: Most often we are able to request copies of the  X-rays from your general dentist. Depending on the type of x-rays taken; we  can eliminate or reduce the number of X-rays necessary by our office.

Q: Can I have treatment performed on the same day as the consultation?

A: It will depend on what type of procedure is advised, but we do offer same day treatment for simple procedures.

Prior to Surgery

Q:  Can I eat or drink prior to surgery?

A:  No. You must not eat or drink anything 8 hours prior to your scheduled surgical appointment.

Q: Can I drive after the procedure?

A:  No. You must not operate an automobile or heavy equipment for 24 hours after the procedure.  If you are taking a narcotic medication, we recommend that you do not drive. 

Q: Will I be sedated?

A: Yes. Most of our procedures are done under sedation. 

Q: What is “Conscious Sedation”?

A:  A mild sedative given intravenously also known as “twilight sedation”.

After Surgery

Q: When can I start brushing my teeth again?

A: You may resume brushing and flossing all teeth except the surgical area 24 hours after surgery. Avoid brushing the surgical area until your stitches are removed or have dissolved depending on the type of stitches placed for your procedure. You must  brush your teeth including the surgical area at 2 weeks after the surgery for sure.

Q:  I have bleeding in the area of my surgery. What should I do?

A: Place damp gauze in the site and apply firm  pressure for at least 15 minutes. Gently remove the gauze and make sure  the bleeding has stopped. It is important not to spit. Instead, swallow  normally. A small tea bag kept in the area under pressure will also help stop bleeding.

Q: I have some swelling and bruising after surgery. What should I  do?

A:  Some bruising or swelling is normal after surgery  for 2-3 days. Ice immediately following surgery 20 minutes on/off greatly reduces swelling potential and pain. If swelling or bruising is present on the 2nd and 3rd day, apply a warm compress for 20 minutes at a time. All swelling should begin to decrease after the 4th day. If not, please call our office. 

Q:  How soon can I resume work?

A:  Typically after one or two days and also depending on how you feel.  90% of our patients are able to resume normal activity the very next day, except for heavy lifting or working out which is restricted for at least 3 – 4 days.  

Q: When can I resume exercise?

A:  We do not recommend running, jogging or regular  exercise until the fourth day after your surgery. On the 4th day begin  light activity and work your way up for the next 1 week to maximize healing. 

Q: How long will I feel pain after my surgery?

A: Usually pain is present for 2-3 days following surgery. It also depends on your pain tolerance and the procedure. 

Q: Can I still smoke?

A: Since it can cause serious complications, you must not smoke for 2 weeks following surgery.

Q: What can I eat?

A: Eat soft foods like apple sauce, yogurt, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, fish, chicken and any other soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing. Please avoid crunchy foods such as chips, nuts, and seeds. 

 Q: What if a suture(s) comes out?

A: This is fairly uncommon, but if you do lose a suture, please call our office.

Q: I missed one or two doses of my antibiotic. Should I continue  taking it, or stop?

A: Please continue until you run out of medicine.

Q: I had a bone graft done and now I am seeing and feeling small  particles come loose the area. Is this normal?

A: If you notice one or two particles loosen in the  area, it is fine. If you feel more particles come out at a greater  frequency, please call our office.

Questions about Treatment

Q: What is a bone graft made of?

A: There are very types of bone graft material, the type of bone that we use comes from a bone bank. The graft material is very predictable and ideal. It is very safe and effective.

Q: What is crown lengthening?

A: Crown lengthening is a procedure where a portion of bone and gum tissue surrounding a tooth is removed in order to expose  more of the crown (the visible portion of tooth).

Q: Why is crown lengthening recommended?

A: Crown lengthening is necessary for several reasons: 1) to expose more of the tooth in order for your dentist to place a  crown, 2) to expose an area of decay below the gumline to perform a  filling, and 3) to remove gum tissue in order to expose more of the  tooth for aesthetic purposes.

Q: What is gingival grafting surgery?

A: Gingival grafting surgery is a procedure where gum  tissue is removed from a donor site, or when donor tissue is added to an area that lacks adequate gum tissue. It may also be used to create  sufficient root coverage in an area of gum recession.

Q: Why is gingival grafting recommended?

A:  Gingival grafting is needed for a few different  reasons: 1) to create thick tissue in an area that is too thin, 2) to  acquire root coverage in an area of root exposure, 3) to create even gum line for esthetic reasons.

Q: What is a “frenectomy”?

A: During a frenectomy, we reattach the muscle that connects the lip to the gums. It is re-attached in a lower position and/or severed to prevent attachment causing a heavy pull in the area which can contribute to gingival recession

Q: Why is a frenectomy needed/recommended?

A:  A frenectomy is required when the muscle attaching the lip to the gums is too prominent, causing a heavy pull that can  contribute to recurring gingival recession.

Q: What is Osseous surgery?

A: Osseous surgery involves exposing the teeth and  surrounding bone in order to gain access and remove granulation tissue  or calculus.

Q: Why is Osseous surgery recommended?

A: Osseous surgery is recommended due to an increase  in pocket depth and infection that cannot be resolved using scaling or  root planning.

Q:  What are the procedures called “scaling and root planing”?

A: Scaling and root planing or a “deep cleaning” are methods of removing  plaque and tartar from deep pockets around teeth which cannot be reached at regular cleanings.  The root surfaces will become smooth and provide optimal healing for the tissue reducing inflammation and disease.

Q: Why are scaling and root planing recommended?

A: Scaling and root planing are recommended when  patients experience difficulty maintaining proper home care due to deep  pockets between teeth.

Q:  What are dental implants?

A: Dental implant replicates the root of a tooth,  allowing for a more natural, durable tooth replacement.

Q: What is a sinus lift surgery?

A: A sinus lift surgery is performed by creating an  opening into the bone and raising the sinus membrane. A bone graft is  inserted in the space in preparation for the placement of a dental  implant. 

Q: Why do I need a sinus lift prior to or during implant  placement?

A:  Implants can only be placed into a solid bone  foundation. Sometimes lifting the sinus is necessary to create a  sufficient foundation.

Q:  Why is bone grafting needed?

A: Bone grafting is needed to create more bone mass to enable implant placement.

Do I Need X-Rays?

We may need current x-rays in order to identify the problem that is otherwise not visible. If your referring dentist has taken x-rays, you may request that they be forwarded to us.

What Will It Cost?

Since all patients periodontal situations are different, your periodontist must complete your examination before establishing your treatment plan. The fee for periodontal treatment can vary considerably depending on the type of problems and the complexity of treatment. An estimate can usually be determined at the initial visit; but on occasion, some initial treatment or further diagnostics must be completed before the final treatment planning can be established. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain the best treatment goals.

Will My Insurance Cover The Cost?

Dental insurance policies often cover periodontal treatment. Please bring all medical and dental benefit information and cards to your examination appointment. Upon request, we will submit a claim to predetermine your insurance benefits; however, this is not required by most plans.

Will I Need Surgery?

Not everyone needs periodontal surgery. If treated early, gum disease can be controlled without surgery. We will make recommendations based on your individual situation. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals.

Can My Teeth Be Saved?

The recent advances in periodontal treatment allow us to successfully treat most teeth.

When Will I Go Back To My General Dentist?

Our office and your dentist will work closely together. If crowns and fillings are needed your dentist will provide them. Regular visits to your dentist are an important part of periodontal maintenance.