Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I have to see a specialist (Periodontist) for my gum problem?

Your dentist has determined that your gums require special care.  You have been referred to us because your dentist believes that your gum problem has the best chance of being successfully, efficiently and comfortably treated by a person who does nothing but periodontal therapy and is highly skilled in such procedures.  By referring you to our office your dentist is showing a strong commitment to optimal dental care.

What is a periodontist?

A periodontist is a dentist that has had, in addition to dental school, at least two years of intense study and training in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease.  As a specialist he devotes his time, energy and skill to helping people who need periodontal treatment.  A periodontist limits his practice to treating only periodontal problems.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is the major cause of about 70 percent of adult tooth loss affecting three out of four persons at some point in life.

The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth.  If the plaque is not removed, it hardens into a rough, porous deposit called calculus, or tartar.  Toxins (or poisons) produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and can make them red, tender, swollen and more likely to bleed easily.  As the disease progresses, the toxins destroy supporting tissues around teeth, forming pockets that fill with more plaque.  Bone that supports the teeth may be permanently damaged.  Unless treated, the affected teeth can become loose and eventually lost.

What are the effects of periodontal disease on health?

Periodontal disease can affect your general health.  Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, respiratory infection, pre-term or low birth weigh babies, disruption of diabetic control to name a few!

Without good periodontal health you can't have good health!

What will take place at my first visit?

After reviewing your medical and dental history, your gums, teeth and mouth will be thoroughly examined.  X-rays of your teeth and jaws will be studied to evaluate the amount of bone supporting the teeth.  Your condition will be discussed with you and the best treatment plan outlined.

What does conservative periodontal therapy involve?

You will be trained in the newest personal oral hygiene techniques.  Hard and soft deposits will be thoroughly removed from the teeth using modern ultrasonic instruments.  Your healing progress will be constantly monitored. The goal of this treatment is to restore gum tissue to the best state of health possible using conservative (non-surgical) therapy.  You will find that these treatments are not uncomfortable and your mouth will feel super when completed.

Is surgery always needed to treat gum disease?

NO!  For most patients with early periodontal (gum) disease conservative (non-surgical) therapy is all that is needed to control the disease process.

If additional treatment is needed?

The newest technology for periodontal patient care is now available at our office.  After much research into laser periodontal treatment, Dr. Rabalais has been extensively trained on the latest generation of Nd:YAG laser.  The PerioLase was developed specifically to treat periodontal disease using LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure).  Like LASIK surgery for the eyes, this patented and FDA-approved laser therapy allows us to treat periodontal patients with a minimally invasive, break-through procedure, which usually eliminates the need for conventional blade and suture surgery.

Is periodontal therapy painful?

No, not today.  Most stories of pain related to therapy are from the days before modern anesthetics, instruments and procedures.  When the procedure is performed by a periodontist who is trained and experienced in treating complicated cases, there is usually little or no discomfort during or after the procedure.

How much will it cost?

The cost of the periodontal treatment will vary depending on your needs.  After you have been examined and the appropriate treatment plan determined you will be provided with an estimate of the cost.

Do I return to my general dentist?

After active periodontal treatment is completed, the periodontist will refer you back to your general dentist, but may also see you periodically for follow-up care and periodontal maintenance.