Periodontal FAQ

What is periodontics?

Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, focusing on the study and treatment of the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth and jaw. In addition to treating periodontal disease, a periodontist is also an expert on dental implants, rebuilding lost gum and bone with grafting, cosmetic periodontal surgical procedures, and pre-prosthetic (before crowns, bridges, denture, implants, etc.) procedures to enhance the function or appearance of implants, crowns, or bridges.

Who is a periodontist?

A periodontist is a dental specialist who has the training and experience required by the American Dental Association to diagnose, treat, and prevent different forms of periodontal/gum disease and perform other surgical procedures as described above. In addition to the advanced training necessary to be a Periodondontal specialist, Dr. Kanter has attained the highest level of certification, becoming Board Certified.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, often begins as a buildup of plaque on the tooth's surface near the gum line. If this plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing regularly, it can cause inflammation of the gum, or gingiva. This results in the gums becoming red, swollen, and irritated. This is known as gingivitis and is the first stage of periodontal disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which results in loss of the deeper supporting bone and leads to tooth loss.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

  • Red, swollen, sore gums
  • Gums that bleed when brushing and flossing
  • Teeth that appear longer or become loose
  • Large spaces that form between the teeth
  • Gums that begin to pull away from the teeth
  • Chronic bad breath

Periodontal disease, if left untreated, can contribute to other health problems including heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and diabetes. If you're pregnant, having periodontal disease is also linked to premature birth or low birth weight. Your oral health affects the overall health of your body.

Is periodontal disease treatable?

Gum disease is both preventable and treatable. Today's periodontal treatments provide you with a variety of options that are safe and effective. If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, your periodontist can help you determine what treatment best meets your needs. Periodontal treatments include:

  • Non-surgical treatment (deep cleaning, dietary modification, prescription medications such as antibiotics, oral hygiene instruction, etc.)
  • Periodontal surgery
  • Dental implants
  • At-home care (special toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, and other specialized cleaning aids)

Am I at risk of having periodontal disease?

You may be at risk of having periodontal disease if you smoke or use tobacco products, you do not brush your teeth and floss regularly, you have health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or osteoporosis, or if several of your family members have had gum disease as it can, in some cases, be genetic. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with your Periodontist, who can help determine if treatment is necessary.

Will my insurance cover my periodontal treatment?

Many insurance plans will provide assistance for periodontal treatment. Our practice understands how important your dental health is, and we want you to get the most out of any dental treatment you receive. We will help you work with your insurance provider to make sure that you take maximum advantage of your coverage.

Additional FAQ

For additional information please go to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) website.  You will find more detailed answers and links to a broad range of periodontal topics.

seattle-magseattle-metAmerican Academy Of Periodontology