The quality and experience of your periodontist can have a significant impact on the outcomes of your dental or oral procedures. While your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, doing your research before deciding on a provider is essential in order to ensure you receive the best possible care.
While all periodontists are required to adhere to the same education and training requirements, not all periodontists have the same level of experience. And experience isn’t the only thing that matters either. You also want to choose a provider who helps you to feel at ease, takes the time to educate you on your health, and thoroughly answers all of your questions.
While online reviews can help, selecting the right periodontist isn’t as simple as Googling “Periodontist near me”. Prior to receiving treatment, you should take the time to meet with a potential provider and interview them during your free consultation. This is especially important before pursuing a major procedure like dental implants.
Below, we’ll discuss why you might consider visiting a periodontist, and 5 questions to ask when evaluating whether a provider is right for you.
1. What Is Your Approach For Treating Periodontitis?
There are several methods out there for treating periodontitis (gum disease). Some are more effective, while others are less painful. If you’re seeking a periodontist to treat gum disease, you’ll want to get a sense of what treatment options your provider offers. Not all periodontists approach periodontal treatments the same way. Minor cases of gum disease can be treated with a thorough dental cleaning; however, more severe cases require additional action. Below are some common treatments:
- Scaling And Root Planing – This is the primary, non-surgical option for treating gum disease. Scaling describes the process of scraping plaque from above and below the gumline, while planing involves smoothing over rough spots on the roots of your teeth. Both are done under a local anesthetic, which can help manage pain.
- Flap Surgery & Pocket Reduction – During flap surgery, gums are lifted back so plaque and tartar can be effectively removed. During the replacement process, your periodontist will reattach them firmly around the teeth to eliminate any gaps and reduce the chance of future gum disease.
- Soft Tissue Grafts – Tissue from the roof of your mouth is removed and used to strengthen areas of weakened gums.
- Laser Treatment – Some periodontists are licensed to treat gum disease with LANAP, which stands for Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure. LANAP used a high-powered laser to remove diseased gums and inflammation. This method is effective, mostly pain-free, and is non-invasive.
2. What Type Of Technology Do You Use?
Ongoing advancements in dental technology are providing dental professionals more options than ever for effectively diagnosing and treating conditions. Choosing a practice that invests in the latest and greatest technology means your periodontist will be better equipped to craft a good treatment plan for you, but also offer less painful and more effective treatment options.
When asking about the technology your provider uses, be sure to ask specifically about laser periodontal treatment and diagnostics like CT scans and 3d imaging. Also, ask whether these procedures are done in-house. The better the technology, the better chance your procedure and treatment will be a success.
3. How Many Years Have You Been Practicing?
Most periodontists are required to undergo the same education, which includes an undergraduate degree, completion of dental school, and a residency program. Some states also have certain certification exams. However, it never hurts to ask where your provider went to school in order to gain a sense of the quality of their education.
Also, a more helpful question may pertain to how long they’ve been practicing, which can give you a sense of their experience and expertise.
4. What Insurances Are Accepted / Do You Offer Financing?
Some periodontal procedures can be expensive, so it’s always wise to determine if your provider accepts your dental or medical insurance. If your plan is accepted, your periodontist’s office can provide you with necessary claims and codes, so you can check with your insurance to determine your out-of-pocket expenses.
If you’re receiving a procedure that isn’t covered, you may also want to ask your periodontist about financing options. Some practices will be willing to work with you to structure a payment plan, while others may be willing to make a recommendation for third-party financing.
5. What Should I Expect When I Come In For An Appointment?
This is a fairly open-ended question, but an important one. By asking it, you should attempt to get a sense of the practice’s day-to-day operations and the demeanor of the staff. Is it easy to schedule an appointment? Are the office hours convenient? Is the staff friendly and helpful? Is the waiting room normally crowded? Some periodontal procedures require multiple visits, so you want to be sure the practice makes you feel comfortable during each visit.
You don’t want to be constantly fighting for an appointment time or rearranging your work schedule to accommodate an appointment time. You also want to visit a practice where you feel comfortable during each visit, which is why it’s so important to gain a sense of what to expect during your consultation.
When To See A Periodontist
Periodontists specialize in treating conditions related to the teeth, gums, and jawbone. Your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, or you may decide to see one if you’re having severe oral pain or bleeding. In either case, be sure to take the time to research your provider and interview them during the initial consultation. Some common reasons why you may want to see a periodontist include:
- Treatment of severe periodontitis (gum disease)
- Dental implants
- Tooth extraction
- Jawbone grafting
- Receding gum line
- Certain sinus issues
Remember not all periodontists perform the same procedures, so it may be worth speaking to a few different providers before making your decision
If you’re looking for an experienced periodontist, schedule your consultation with Dr. Stuart Beauchamp at Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry today. Our team would be happy to answer all of your questions.