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What Should I Expect During My First Visit?

AZPerio is dedicated to providing you with optimum oral health. At your first visit, we will complete an in-depth medical and dental health history and a thorough examination to measure for bone loss, loose teeth, bite, TMJ and other signs of periodontal disease. We will also perform an oral cancer screening. AZPerio’s doctors, with your input, will establish a treatment plan to address your disease and discuss treatment alternatives to help you obtain optimal periodontal health. A typical periodontal exam last about 45-60 minutes.

For Implant Patients A 3-dimensional CT scan may be recommended for dental implants patients. This scan allows for analysis of available bone, anatomical structures and nerves prior to implant placement, improving the precision and safety of this procedure. A typical dental implant exam last about 30 minutes.

Please assist us at the time of your initial visit to the office by providing the following information:

  • If available, please provide any recent radiographs from other dental providers.
  • A list of all medications you are currently taking.
  • If you have dental insurance, please bring any forms or insurance cards with you to the appointment.

Please Note: All patients under18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the consultation appointment.

Please notify the office if you have a medical condition or concern prior to surgery (e.g. artificial heart valves or joints, heart murmurs requiring pre-medication, severe diabetes, or hypertension).

Prior to your visit Please complete your medical history form and provide a list of all medications taken. If available, please provide any recent radiographs from other dental providers.

What are Mini Implants?

“Mini” dental implants are small diameter implants that are typically 1.5 to 2.5mm wide. A standard dental implant is about 4mm wide. Mini implants were originally designed as temporary implants to support a dental prosthesis while standard implants were healing. Once the wider implants had healed, the mini implants would be removed. Recently, many dental companies have promoted the use of mini implants as a substitute for standard, wider implants. Industry claims made include that mini implants are highly successful, less invasive and more economical for patients as they cost less than traditional implants.

While there are decades of research that show that traditional sized implants are highly successful, there is minimal research to date and no long-term research supporting the use of mini implants. As mini implants have much less surface area for bone to attach than standard implants, failure rates for mini implants are higher than traditional implants, especially in the upper jaw where bone quality is poor. Additionally, the risk of implant fracture may be increased due to reduced implant width. Furthermore, restorative parts are limited for mini implants which may limit options when placing a tooth on a mini implant. Dr. Gordon Christensen, a practicing prosthodontist and co-founder of Clinical Research Associates stated regarding mini implants “Patients should be advised that these implants are being used throughout the world, but they have not been subjected to long-term research such as that done on standard–sized implants.”

What is periodontal maintenance?

After your mouth is restored to health, you still require monitoring. Periodontal disease is controlled, not cured. Regular maintenance can ensure disease control by eliminating bacteria on a more frequent schedule.

Why do I have to alternate my maintenance between my general dentist and a periodontist?

The primary job of a periodontist is to monitor the health of your gums and assess your homecare to evaluate control of gum disease. Your general dentist is, in a sense, a specialist in detecting cavities and restoring diseased teeth. He or she will pay special attention to your restorative needs.

What kinds of things can I do to prevent gum disease?

First and foremost, if you are a smoker, quit! Studies have shown that smoking does numerous things that increases your risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Uncontrolled diabetes will also put you at significant risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Coming in for regular maintenance and taking good care of your teeth at home are of significant benefit.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Your gums may be swollen, reddened, and bleed when brushed or flossed. The difference between this and periodontal disease is that no bone has been lost around the teeth yet.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease (also known as periodontal infection, gum disease or pyorrhea) is an ongoing infection in the gums around your teeth. The cause of periodontal disease is infectious bacteria that gets deep into your gums and causes tissue inflammation.

This infection starts destroying the bone that supports your teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Read more about Periodontal Disease.

What is guided tissue regeneration?

Guided tissue regeneration is a technique to restore structures that may have been lost due to disease. There are several ways to accomplish this. It is the preferred method of treating periodontal disease, but it is not possible in every case.

What is crown lengthening?

Crown lengthening is simply making a tooth longer, so the crown will fit properly and the gums remain healthy. The top of the tooth is referred to as a crown, so making it longer is crown lengthening. This may be done to enhance your smile, or to allow a dentist to restore a tooth that has broken off or has a very deep cavity. Please refer to the case picture section for an example of a crown lengthening done to improve esthetics.

What is a dental implant, and how does it work?

A dental implant is a titanium root replacement that is placed into the bone. A healing phase follows, and during that time, the bone tightly “bonds” to the implant securing it in place. Following the healing phase, your restorative dentist can place a tooth on top of the dental implant which now acts as a titanium root. In some select instances, the implant can be placed at the time of the extraction to shorten the treatment time. Please refer to the case picture section for a before and after photo of a single tooth restored with implants.

What benefits does an implant offer as opposed to a bridge?

A bridge is essentially two teeth that are holding an artificial one between them. These two teeth have crowns (caps) on them to hold the artificial one in place. If you get a cavity on one of them, you need to replace the whole bridge. In addition, all bridgework will eventually need to be replaced. A dental implant does not require placing crowns on teeth that do not even need them. If the crown on the implant needs to be replaced for some reason, you are simply replacing one, not three, as you would with a bridge.

There are several other benefits that can be specific to the case. Ask your dentist how they can benefit you.

Can implants help my denture fit better?

Yes they can. People with dentures gradually have the bone under the denture or plate shrink with time. Implants can serve two purposes in this situation: The first being that they can secure the denture allowing for a snug fit. The second purpose is to prevent additional bone shrinkage or loss. In a sense, your teeth told the bone that it was supposed to be there. When the teeth were lost, the bone lost it’s purpose. Implants can”remind” your bone that it’s supposed to be there. If you have a poorly fitting denture, you can often get back to very near the function you had when you had teeth. Please refer to the image in the case pictures for a before an after photo of a case like this, complete with X-rays. Cases like this are very rewarding for the patients as well as the doctor involved.

Has Periodontal Disease Been Linked to Other Diseases?

Yes, patients with advanced periodontal disease have been shown to have a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Research shows that treating your periodontal disease may improve diabetic glucose control.

Does Periodontal Disease Typically Hurt?

No, periodontal disease is typically a “silent” disease in that no pain may be noted until the disease has become advanced. Therefore, it is very important that radiographs and periodontal probing be completed regularly to identify disease early. Bleeding gums, shifting teeth and bad breath are all signs of disease.
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