Patient Portal

Your First Visit

Although most everyone knows what to expect when scheduling an appointment with their dentist, it is common for patients to be uncertain about what is involved in a visit to a periodontist, why it is necessary, and what to expect. While a general dentist is able to address common oral health issues, including simple periodontal issues, more severe diseases of the periodontium are best treated by a periodontist. The need for more extensive periodontal care is typically determined by your general dentist, who will likely provide you with a recommendation of a trusted local specialist.

Once you have scheduled an appointment for your first periodontal visit, be sure to bring along your referral form and x-rays if provided, a list of your current medications, and your dental insurance information if applicable. Also, please fill out your New Patient Information questionnaire online.

Although every patient will have a slightly different experience, your first appointment will typically begin with a review of your dental and medical history, examination of your jaw joints, neck, and head, the structures in your throat and mouth and your gums and teeth. We will also use a special probe to measure the depth of the pockets of your gums. If necessary, x-rays may be taken.

Once this information has been collected and the examination is complete, a diagnosis will be made and a treatment plan will be developed. Dr. Fontana will explain the underlying cause of whatever issue you may have, what treatment options are available, what treatment approach he believes is best, and an overview of what to expect during the recommended treatments. After any questions you may have are answered, your first visit will be complete and a follow-up appointment for treatment can be scheduled.

Patient Forms and Post-Op Instructions

Our operations often require additional personal care from you after completion.

Below are all of our instructions for post-operation care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Periodontal FAQ’s

What is the difference between a periodontist and a general dentist?
In addition to completing an undergraduate degree and dental school, a periodontist must also complete a residency program, which typically lasts an additional three more years. This additional education is focused on understanding the cause and treatment of gum disease, and other issues and aspects of the periodontium (supporting structures of the teeth). Although it is not a requirement, some periodontists also pursue board certification demonstrating proficiency in their specialty. Board-certified periodontists must recertify every six years.
How is periodontal disease treated?
Periodontal treatment will be determined by the nature and severity of your disease. To determine this, a thorough examination will be performed, which will involve the use of an instrument to measure the pocket depth between your gums and teeth. Gums that are healthy will have a pocket depth of 4mm or less, whereas pockets that are deeper than 4mm generally indicate that periodontal disease is present.

To treat periodontal disease, it will first be necessary to remove bacteria-containing plaque and tartar that has formed beneath the gumline, which is achieved with scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) procedures. Once this debris has been removed, additional procedures and steps can be taken to reduce your risk of worsening periodontal disease and/or correct the deterioration periodontal disease has already had on your oral health.
Will periodontal surgery be necessary?
Periodontal surgery is typically avoided unless absolutely necessary, however, there are times when surgical intervention is the only treatment option that will allow you to best preserve and maintain your oral health.
Do I still need to see my regular dentist if I visit my periodontist?
Scheduling regular visits with both your general dentist and periodontist is necessary as it is the best way to optimize your oral health and ensure that you receive individualized care that is delivered by a team that has a thorough understanding of your unique oral health issues and needs.
What are the most common symptoms associated with periodontal disease?
One of the trickiest things about periodontal disease is that it can exist for some time and not present itself until the disease has advanced. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, this may be an indication that periodontal disease has developed.
• Bleeding that occurs after brushing or flossing 
• Swollen or tender gums 
• Unexplained mouth discomfort 
• Receding gums 
• Pus from between teeth and gums
• Loose teeth 
• Change in the position of teeth 
• Change in the feel of your bite 
• Chronic halitosis
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your periodontist to schedule an appointment sooner than later.
What are the potential consequences of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can cause a range of issues that can be mild or severe. Milder cases of periodontal disease may result in the deepening of pockets. As these pockets deepen, more plaque and bacteria is allowed to collect under the gumline, which in time can harden into calculus that can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist. If left untreated, the bone that supports your teeth will be lost, causing teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.
What Is the Link Between Gum Disease and Cardiovascular Disease?
In addition to these negative impacts on your oral health, periodontal disease is also linked to cardiovascular disease and other health issues such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and more. Research has shown that periodontal disease may increase the risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Both periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are chronic inflammatory diseases, so researchers believe that inflammation may account for the association between the two. Untreated periodontal disease can increase inflammation in the body, which may increase the risk for development of more severe health complications, including cardiovascular disease. However, more research is needed to determine the exact relationship between the two conditions.
How much will treatment cost and will the treatment be covered by insurance?
Treatment costs will depend on a number of factors including the severity of your case, what type of procedures are planned, what diagnostic tests are required and what type of insurance plan you have if any.

Most periodontal treatments are covered (partially or in full) by dental plans, however it is important to discuss anticipated costs with our office prior to having procedures performed so you know what to expect.