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Australia's Premier Periodontics Specialist

FAQs

We've got the answers to your commonly asked questions

PERIODONTICS

Q: Who should treat my periodontal disease?

A: Instead of leaving your treatment to one dental professional, you should consider having both your general dentist and a periodontist be actively involved in the diagnosis and treatment plan of your periodontal disease. This team approach will help your general dentist (who is familiar with your dental and medical history) and your periodontist (who has extensive experience treating periodontal diseases), collaborate to tailor a treatment plan that works best for your individual case.

Q: I was recently diagnosed with periodontal disease. How often should I see my periodontist for an examination?

A: Regular examinations are very important to keep track of the present status of your disease and any disease progression over time. Your periodontist will work with you to create a maintenance schedule depending on how advanced your periodontal disease is at that time. Based on many variable factors such as your overall health, the severity of bone loss, and risk factors such as smoking and genetics, your periodontist will constantly tailor your care so your periodontal disease does not progress further. He or she may recommend examinations every six months for mild periodontal disease, or every few months for more advanced stages.

Q: What are common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?

A: Periodontal disease is often silent. This means symptoms, particularly pain, may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, you should still be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms, which include:
  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
  • Bleeding when brushing, flossing, or when eating certain foods
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your dentist or periodontist right away!

Q: Can children be at risk of developing periodontal disease?

A: Periodontal disease is rarely found in children, and only sometimes in adolescents. However, children should still learn the importance of keeping their teeth and gums healthy to prevent periodontal disease in the future. Children should brush their teeth twice a day and learn how to floss properly. If they learn how to floss at an early age, they will be more likely to make it a lifetime habit. These two simple acts will help protect their teeth and gums from periodontal disease. As a parent, you should also be aware of the warning signs of periodontal disease, which include red, swollen, bleeding gums or bad breath that won’t go away. If your child develops any of these symptoms, tell your dental professional right away. It’s also a good idea to ensure your dental professional knows your complete family history, as genetics can play an important role in the early development of periodontal disease.




IMPLANTS

Q: What is a dental implant?

A: A dental implant can be thought of as an artificial tooth root that is submerged into the jawbone. Then, dental work such as a crown, fixed bridge or a full set of dentures, or one or more missing teeth can be replaced. A dental implant is fabricated from a very strong, biocompatible material placed in a simple procedure that, generally, is as convenient as a tooth extraction. After an initial healing period, during which the implant is buried in bone and left undisturbed under gum tissue, it is uncovered and connected to a small metal post that secures and supports the artificial tooth.

The implant material is extremely biocompatible. The bone grows to the implant and bonds to it. This makes the implant very strong. The process is called ‘osseointegration'.

Q: Is everyone suitable?

A: Some people may not be suitable for this procedure. Conditions such as alcoholism, some psychiatric disorders and uncontrolled diabetes can cause problems. Your dentist will also need to check to see how much bone you have and whether there is enough space for an implant. The adjacent teeth roots will also need to be away from the implant. If you don't have enough bone, it is possible to grow bone or even graft bone from elsewhere in the mouth or places like your hip.

Q: What is the success rate?

A: The success rate depends on where in the jaw the implants are placed. The lower jaw has a very good chance of success (98%). The further back in the mouth you go, the lesser the prognosis, but this is generally over 90%. If you smoke, the chances of success drops by at least 10%.

Q: How long will an implant last?

A: This is impossible to predict. However, research has demonstrated that implants have longevity once integrated with bone. Each patient is different, and longevity may be affected by lifestyle factors which include health, nutrition, oral hygiene and tobacco usage. Individual anatomy, the design and construction of the prosthesis and oral habits may also have an influence.




CLEANING AND PREVENTION

Q: What should I do if brushing or flossing makes my gums bleed?

A: If your gums bleed or become sore after flossing, don’t panic. If you haven’t been flossing regularly then the gums will be inflamed and will bleed more easily. If the bleeding persists — see your dentist.

Q: How long should I brush?

A: Proper brushing should take two to three minutes.

Q: What is the correct way to floss?

A: The way in which the floss is held is the key. You should allow for a generous length, ensuring it is tightly wrapped around and locked onto the middle finger of each hand. Some organisations also make small flossing aids, which are available at National Periodontics. Flossing should only be made using a gentle sawing motion, against the sides of your teeth. If you find this tricky — speak to your dentist. They will be able to advise you on the best oral hygiene aids for you, and show you exactly how to use them. Remember — prevention is the aim!


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