Periodontal FAQs


What is periodontics?

Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. It focuses on the study and treatment of the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth and jaw.

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. In addition, he or she is licensed in reconstruction of the jawbone, especially in conjunction with the placement of dental implants to restore form, function, and aesthetics of the mouth. 

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 regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into what we call tartar.

Plaque will continue to build up over the tartar, and eventually cause the gums to become red, swollen, and irritated. This is known as gingivitis and is the first stage of periodontal disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease and bone loss, with the potential for 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 and diabetes. If you’re pregnant, periodontal disease is also linked to premature birth or low birth weight. Your smile’s health affects the overall health of your body.

Is periodontal disease treatable?

Gum disease is both preventable and treatable. Today’s periodontal treatments offer you a variety of options that are gentle, safe, and effective. If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, Dr. Dalessandro can help you determine what treatment best meets your needs.

Periodontal treatments include:

  • Non-surgical scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
  • Periodontal surgery
  • Laser therapy
  • Dental implants
  • At-home care (special toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, and prescription treatment trays)

Am I at risk of having periodontal disease?

You may be at risk of having periodontal disease if you smoke or use tobacco products, if you do not brush your teeth and floss regularly, if you have health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or osteoporosis, or if several of your family members have had gum disease since it can, in some cases, be genetic.

You are also at higher risk if you have not seen your dentist for a professional cleaning in more than six months. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist, 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 your treatment is easy on your budget, and your peace of mind.

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