During the consultation, visit you will meet the staff and the doctor, and be asked to provide information regarding your health history and insurances if available.
Dr. Flamme will perform an examination of your mouth and may take X-rays to supplement the visual examination. He will then take time with you to discuss the oral health concerns identified, if any, and the available treatment options. Dr. Flamme will coordinate the goals of the general dentist and those of periodontal treatment to provide you with a comprehensive approach of sequenced, coordinated care aimed at resolving the issues present.
Most examinations and consultations with Dr. Flamme last 45 to 60 minutes to ensure that you have a full understanding of all dental issues involved, and ample time to ask questions and make fully informed, unhurried decisions.
Periodontal maintenance is exceptionally thorough cleaning of the teeth, and below the gum line to prevent or help remediate periodontal disease where it typically begins. Thorough cleaning is especially important after infection has been eliminated to prevent it from recurring.
Why is periodontal maintenance so important? Gum disease and infection are caused by bacteria, commonly known as plaque, which can cause infection, bone loss, gum recession and, in time, tooth loss. Allowed to rest in place over time, plaque becomes tartar which must be removed professionally. Brushing and flossing are only marginally effective, especially if the conditions are complicated. Dr. Flamme ensures that tartar is removed, and monitors your condition closely, because the earlier a problem is diagnosed, the more successful and inexpensive your treatment can be.
The interval between maintenance and cleaning visits can vary depending on individual circumstances and the skill and motivation of the patient in caring for himself or herself. The periodontist takes time to observe the conditions and the patient's skills and makes recommendation to the patient and his/her general dentist as to the appropriate interval between visits. Many times the patient alternates between the general dentist and the periodontist for a balanced program of oral health.
Having your teeth cleaned is the most inexpensive approach to good dental health. Maintenance care prevents more costly and involved periodontal treatments and compliments the brushing and flossing you do at home.
PERIODONTAL DISEASE TREATMENT
Dr. Flamme is highly trained to assess and treat periodontal disease through a variety of procedures that range from simply administering antibiotics, to painless surgical and non-surgical treatments such as scaling and root planing, gum grafting, extractions, and dental implants. He will determine the extent and severity of your condition and, after a thorough discussion with you, recommend the appropriate therapy.
GUM DISEASE, BONE PRESERVATION AND TREATMENT
If you have noticed bleeding gums, or been diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, Dr. Flamme can assess and treat these conditions. Therapies include non-surgical and surgical options. Dr. Flamme's approach is to achieve periodontal health with the least invasive and most cost-effective treatment.
Non-surgical methods include scaling and root planing, with or without the use of antibiotics. Scaling and root planing is a gentle and careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar from deep pockets in the gum and to remove bacterial toxins. Periodic follow-up appointments are encouraged to maintain the treatment efficacy.
In cases where non-surgical procedures do not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated. Gum surgery is a method to gain access. If the tooth roots are contaminated with bacteria, and the periodontal probings are deep and/or the access is difficult, then lifting the gum to the side for a short period of time can allow visualization of the root and access for the use of the proper instruments to clean the root itself, a major goal of treatment to eliminate periodontal infection.
Recession of the gums is actually a loss of bone around the tooth root after which the gum follows, exposing more of the root itself. Recession makes one look older and increases the amount of root exposed to bacteria, promoting tooth loss and tooth decay. Loss of bone can lead to the loss of the tooth itself, and therefore the arrest of recession is a priority for good oral health and maintenance of the teeth. Dr. Flamme treats receding gums with gum grafting to restore health, beauty and function.
If periodontal infection has been severe, there may be residual holes in the jaw bone next to or around a tooth, or group of teeth, or dental implant. Once a tooth is lost, the bone in the area that contained the tooth can shrink causing a change in appearance or speech sounds. In this instance, bone graft material can be placed into the carefully cleaned area of damage to promote the filling in of the damaged site by the body's own natural processes. A barrier membrane may be needed to hold the bone graft into place. The goal is the repair of the patient's own natural bone.
If you have experienced a great deal of bone loss, it can be necessary to have bone grafting to save the affected teeth and/or to allow placement of dental implants, all in order to provide the aesthetics, health, speech and appearance a patient wishes to have.
The consultation for dental implant care is critical to its success. The care is always coordinated between the periodontist and the referring dentist and thus requires planning in advance. It is important for the periodontist to confirm the referring dentist's assessment, and determine whether dental implants can be placed at the location in question, in the correct position and number to achieve the desired outcome. The costs of dental implant treatment are partially with Dr. Flamme and partially with the referring dentist, and both need to be understood for you to make the correct decision about having implants placed.
In having a consultation regarding periodontal therapy or dental implants you will be able to make an informed decision about what care is best for you.
Dr. Flamme can perform a number of procedures to improve the appearance of your teeth and restore your beautiful smile. For example, aesthetic crown lengthening is a procedure done to reveal more of the beautiful tooth or teeth that can hide behind a wall of thickened gum tissue, masking the full healthy surface of the tooth normally seen as part of a beautiful smile. Dr. Flamme provides therapies for the elimination of the "gummy smile" and other cosmetic restorative procedures such as root coverage grafting to re-cover exposed root recessions, or the addition of porcelain veneers.