Frequently Asked Questions

Will It Hurt? Do I need a referral to see a periodontist?

We believe in personal, gentle dentistry. The periodontal exam can be completed with little or no discomfort.

Do I Need X-Rays?

We will need current periodontal x-rays in order to perform a thorough clinical and radiographic exam to detect underlying bone loss and periodontal infection.  If your referring dentist has taken x-rays within the last year, you may request that they be forwarded to us.

What Will It Cost?

Since patients needs vary on the case basis, Dr. Speer must complete your examination before establishing your treatment plan. The fee for periodontal treatment can vary considerably depending on the type of problems and the complexity and length of treatment. An approximate fee can usually be determined at the initial visit; but on occasion, some initial treatment or further diagnostic images, such as CBCT (cone beam computer tomography), must be completed before the final treatment planning can be established. 

Will My Insurance Cover The Cost?

Dental insurance policies often cover periodontal treatment. Please bring all dental and medical benefit information and cards to your examination appointment. Upon request, we will verify your insurance benefits. We do not collect payment from insurance companies. If the procedure is a covered expense, your insurance company will send a reimbursement check directly to you.

Will I Need Surgery?

Not everyone needs periodontal surgery. If treated early, gum disease can be controlled without surgery. We will make recommendations based on your individual situation. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals.

Can My Teeth Be Saved?

It is our goal to maintain and optimize your natural teeth. Recent advances in periodontal treatment allow us to successfully save most teeth. Timely treatment, however, is crucial to obtain the best results.  The secret of a healthy dentition for the long-term, however, is compliance with the supportive periodontal maintenance schedule proposed and pristine oral hygiene (daily brushing and flossing).

Do I need a referral to see a periodontist?

Prevention and treatment of slight periodontitis can be fully accomplished at a general dentistry practice.  Your general dentist will refer you to a periodontist if the disease has progressed to an extent and level of complexity that requires a more involving therapy.  You do not need a referral to see a periodontist if you have history of gum disease in your family or want to have a detailed exam with risk assessment. 

Can I see a periodontist on a periodic basis to prevent periodontal disease?

You not only can, but you should, especially if you have a history of gum disease and treatment.  There are several forms of gum/periodontal disease and most of them progress in a silent fashion.  In addition, periodontal disease can be associated to diverse systemic conditions and get more aggravated at stressful times in our lives. 

When Will I Go Back To My General Dentist?

Our office and your general dentist will work closely together. If crowns, fillings, or temporary provisional prior to implant placement are needed, your dentist will provide them to us. After the active phase of periodontal/implant therapy is completed, you will enter the supportive periodontal/implant therapy stage and resume a maintenance schedule customized to your needs.  Regular visits to your dentist are an important part of periodontal maintenance. Our offices will communicate and design a maintenance schedule that is best for you.

What If I Refuse To Have Gum/Periodontal Treatment?

Periodontal disease is a chronic, progressive, silent infection. Delay can cause you further loss of jaw bone, loose teeth, eventual tooth loss due to lack of bone support, abscesses, loss of function, tooth migration with aesthetic involvement, exposure of dental tooth, and systemic health compromise. Periodontitis has been implicated with cardiovascular diseases,  endocarditis, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases. If your teeth are lost, dentures are never as effective as your own natural teeth. Dental implants are the second best option after your own teeth.