Frequently Asked Questions

Will It Hurt?

Dr. Alvarenga tries his best to be as gentle as possible. This is very important to him! The periodontal exam can be completed with little or no discomfort. Sedation is available along with local anesthetic (i.e.-Novocaine) for the actual treatment. The “Wand” is used for all dental injections. The “Wand” is an almost painless way of delivering local anesthesia. you’ll appreciate it!

Do I Need X-Rays?

We will need current x-rays in order to determine the extent of the disease not otherwise visible to the eye. If your referring dentist has taken x-rays, you may request that they be forwarded to us. A full periodontal exam requires a full mouth series of x-rays (about 12-16 individual x-rays). “Bite-wing” x-rays are usually not very helpful. If implants are planned we may need to take a special 3D x-ray survey called a Cone Beam Scan.

What Will It Cost?

Since all patients are different, your periodontist must complete your examination before establishing your treatment plan and the fee for care. 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 unanticipated, additional treatment or further diagnostics may be needed before the final treatment planning can be established. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain the very best treatment goals.

Will My Insurance Cover The Cost?

Dental insurance policies will cover a portion of your periodontal treatment. Please bring all medical and dental benefit information and insurance cards to your examination appointment. Upon request, before the treatment is initiated, we can submit a claim to determine your insurance benefits. This is called a “predetermination.” A “predetermination” is not required by all dental insurance plans.

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.

Can My Teeth Be Saved?

Success with periodontal therapy depends on several factors. Patient cooperation is the most important determinant for success. Proper home care (brushing and flossing) is crucial. Smoking is a major deterrent to success in the treatment of periodontal  diseases. The second factor is timing. The sooner we treat, the better the prognosis and the higher the success rate.

Don’t wait until it hurts to seek treatment!

When Will I Go Back To My General Dentist?

Our office and your regular dentist will work closely together. If crowns and fillings are needed your dentist will provide them. Following Periodontal Therapy, we recommend frequent cleaning and examination visits. We call these visits Supportive Periodontal Therapy (SPT). Sometimes, the SPT visits are alternated between our office and your regular dentist’s office. SPT visits a very important! They reduce the need for periodontal surgery and help you to maintain your oral health. 

What If Put off Having Periodontal Treatment?

Periodontal disease is a progressive, painless infection. Delay can result in further bone loss and the need for more expensive treatment. If your teeth are lost, dentures are never as effective as your own natural teeth.

What if I choose to put off having dental implants?

Dental implants help to preserve your jawbone. Once teeth are lost, jawbone loss begins and this bone loss is progressive. The longer you wait to have dental implants the less bone available to place the implants.