A Periodontist is a dentist that has completed an additional three years of training after dental school. A periodontist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. He/She is also a specialist in oral inflammation and its effect on systemic health. Dr. Fortman is a graduate of the University of Iowa, College of Dentistry and received his graduate periodontal training at Mayo Graduate Medical School, Rochester MN.
Not all dental insurance will cover periodontal procedures. There are some plans that are just preventive services. You may want to call a representative from your dental insurance company or speak with your human resources director whether periodontal treatment is a covered procedure. You may also want to find out what your annual maximum allowance is and the amount remaining. It is important to remember, the treatment recommendation by your dentist and Dr. Fortman is based on your individual oral health needs and is not dictated by your insurance benefits. Susie, our Business Assistant, will be happy to help you with any insurance questions you may have.
At your visits with the hygienist, a complete assessment of your periodontal health is performed. If the tissue and bone is healthy the hygienist will proceed with a cleaning of your teeth. Sometimes however during that 6-12 month timeframe there can be a change in your tissue health. The change may have been caused by one of the risk factors associated with the onset of periodontal disease and your immune system may no longer be able to fight off the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.
While some bacteria are harmless, the bacteria that cause gum disease are not. This bacteria, thrives in the dark warm environment underneath the gum tissue. There the bacteria form what we now know is a biofilm. If the biofilm is not removed along with the harmful bacteria, the infection will destroy the bone and supporting structures of the teeth. The teeth become loose and are soon lost. More importantly is the correlation between periodontal disease and systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis among others.
Yes. Although it is possible for us to treat periodontal disease successfully, you will always be genetically susceptible to the disease and we can’t change that. It is important to consistently monitor this disease every 3 months, the time when research has shown the harmful bacteria can become active again. In addition to removing the bacteria and the biofilm your hygienist will be looking for any signs and/or symptoms that indicate the disease is becoming active again.
An adult prophylaxis is a preventative procedure, no disease has been diagnosed. A periodontal maintenance is a therapy procedure. The hygienist is looking specifically for signs of inflammation that would indicate disease is becoming active again.