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Getting Around Gum Disease: 3 Questions to Ask Your Periodontist

December 12, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — friscoperio @ 3:37 pm
Illustration of a tooth in an inflamed gum with a light blue background

When people think of dental health, they tend to focus on their teeth. Gums, however, provide the foundation that holds them in place which makes them an equally essential part of the picture. It’s natural to feel anxious if you’ve just been diagnosed with gum disease, especially if you aren’t sure what to expect moving forward. Before starting a particular treatment, your periodontist will discuss the possible options with you. This conversation is also the perfect opportunity for you to gain a better understanding so you can set your mind at ease. Keep reading to learn about 3 questions to ask your periodontist at your next visit!

Question #1: How Do You Treat Gum Disease?

To understand how to care for yourself properly, you need a clear idea of how your periodontist plans to address your gum disease. The answer depends on the severity of your condition. In some cases, more thorough brushing and flossing are enough to clear it up.

If your infection is more severe, then you’ll need to undergo the deep cleaning process known as scaling and root planing. During this therapy, your dentist will remove dental tartar from the surfaces of your teeth and smooth the roots to remove any infected areas.   

Question #2: How Many Appointments Do I Need?

It takes some time to cure all your pearly whites and may require multiple appointments, but your periodontist can let you know how many sessions you may need based on your individual circumstances. In many cases, they’ll finish half of your teeth during a single 1 to 2-hour session, and then wrap up the remaining half at a separate visit. After that, you likely will be required to follow up with them periodically during a three-month maintenance timeframe to ensure that everything heals properly and there’s no recurrence of the disease.

Question #3: Do You Offer Sedation?

Typically, gum disease therapy isn’t painful, but your periodontist will probably apply a local anesthetic to ensure you don’t feel discomfort, anyway. If you’re overly anxious or have a hard time sitting still, though, you might ask about other sedation options. They might recommend oral conscious sedation in pill form that you take ahead of your appointment. They can also provide nitrous oxide (laughing gas) administered through a mask placed over your nose while they work, or an IV (intravenous) solution injected into your arm.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you need to feel fully informed. Your periodontist wants you to be calm and comfortable and is happy to take the time to walk you through all the things you deserve to know about your gum disease!

About the Author

Dr. Zachary Carnow is a proud third-generation dentist as well as a board-certified periodontist. He graduated with an undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, then earned his dental degree from the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. In 2013, he began specialty training in Periodontics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, where he was honored to be appointed as the co-chief resident. If you’re concerned about gum disease, he is an expert who can help. You’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling the office at (214) 619-4990.

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