Frequently Asked Questions About Periodontal Dentistry

What is periodontics?

Periodontics, or periodontology, is a dental specialty that focuses primarily on the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth and jaw. A periodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal/gum disease. The knowledgeable team at Implant and Periodontal Specialists is also trained to place dental implants and do foundational procedures, such as covering up exposed root surfaces, in preparation for cosmetic dental treatments.

Who is a dentist?

A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Your dentist has completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree, or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. If your doctor is a pediatric dentist, this means that they specialize in caring for children from infancy through their teen years. Your dentist has received the proper education and training needed to work with young kids. Other specializations include:

  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Prosthodontics (implants)

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:

  • Helps prevent tooth decay
  • Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
  • Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bad-breath causing bacteria in your mouth
  • Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
  • Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
  • Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!

My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?

Your teeth may feel fine, but it's still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Your smile's appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today's dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:

  • Professional teeth whitening
  • Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
  • Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers

What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?

Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:

  • Is the appointment schedule convenient?
  • Is the office easy to get to and close by?
  • Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
  • Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
  • Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
  • Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
  • Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?

How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
  • Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities) and avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
  • Don't be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.

At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six-months-old and no later than one-year-old. During this time, your child's baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child's first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.

How often should I see the dentist?

Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year. You doctor will help determine how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once.

How often should I brush my teeth?

According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue – it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!

When should I change my toothbrush?

Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you've been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.

What is gum disease?

Periodontal, or gum, disease is an infection of the soft tissue and bones that surrounds the teeth. There are two types of gum disease:

  • Gingivitis – affects only the gums
  • Periodontitis – affects the gums, tissues, and bone that supports the teeth.

In the early stages of gingivitis, a simple teeth cleaning may be all that’s necessary to reverse the disease. Brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist every six months will also keep gingivitis at bay. If gingivitis is left untreated, it may turn into periodontitis, which can lead to tooth and bone loss. Once gum disease has reached this level, treatment options are much more limited and often more invasive, sometimes requiring surgery and/or dental implants to restore functionality.

What causes gum disease?

The major cause of gum disease is a buildup of plaque and bacteria on the tooth’s surface near the gum line. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, nutrition, some medications, and genetics.

Periodontal disease or gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease.

What are the common signs of gum disease?

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line
  • Abscessed teeth

Is gum disease treatable?

Gum disease is preventable and treatable, but it’s best to see an expert at Implant and Periodontal Specialists as soon as you start noticing symptoms. For early onset gingivitis, your periodontist will thoroughly clean your teeth to remove the bacteria from around the gum line and provide you with some helpful tips to improve your at-home dental routine. For more advanced stages of gum disease, there are a variety of safe, gentle, and effective treatments, including restorative periodontal surgery, periodontal therapy, and dental implants. An experienced periodontist from Implant and Periodontal Specialists can help you determine the best treatment options to suit your needs.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are artificial replacements for lost tooth roots. Usually made of titanium, these small screws are placed into the jawbone, acting as an anchor for a removable prosthetic tooth or crown. Dental implants are a permanent solution for lost or missing teeth that can help restore your ability to chew properly and speak clearly while enhancing the appearance of your smile.

How long do dental implants last?

When properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. The periodontists at Implant and Periodontal Specialists recommend coming in for regular dental cleanings to ensure the proper maintenance of the implants. They can also provide advice on ideal at-home care.

How do I know if I should see a periodontist?

During your regular dental checkup, your dentist will conduct a thorough exam. If they determine that your condition necessitates treatment by one of the professionals at Implant and Periodontal Specialists, they will let you know.

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

How do I schedule my next checkup?

Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.

To find out more information on periodontics and gum disease, give us a call at 425-453-1010 today!

What Sets Us Apart

  • 2 Convenient Locations
  • Periodontic & Implant Specialists
  • Affordable Payment Plans
  • Most Major Insurance Accepted
  • Pain-Free Sedation Dentistry
  • Customized Treatment Plans
  • Highly-Trained Team
  • Emergencies Welcome
  • Personalized Care
  • Treating Patients Ages 5 & Older
  • Specialist Care for Over 30 Years
  • Seattle Met Top Dentist 2016 & 2017

seattlemet top dentist 2017

Preferred Providers

  • Washington Dental Service/Delta Dental Of Washington
  • All Delta Dental
  • Premera
  • Regence
  • Lifewise

Providers

  • Cigna
  • L&I

As a courtesy to our patients, we bill all dental insurance companies.

We do not accept Apple Care or DSHS.

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