What happens during the first visit?
It is very similar to a regular visit to your dentist. Do not forget that periodontists are also dentists.
Please reserve about 60 to 90 minutes of your time for this visit. It is preferable to come to the office 10-15 minutes before you appointment time, in order to complete a detailed medical questionnaire.
The periodontist will want to know details about your medical history. It is very important that he knows all the medications you are taking (with or without prescription) and if you are undergoing any other medical treatment.
The periodontist will be looking at the color and firmness of your gums, studying which teeth are loose and checking how much gum has been lost. He will gently slide a small instrument (a calibrated probe) between the gums and the teeth to measure the size of the space present (called periodontal pocket). This measure allows him to assess the health of your gums. This part is so simple you will barely feel anything.
If you have missing teeth and would like to have dental implants, the periodontist will evaluate how much bone is still available and if you are a good candidate for implants.
The periodontist will then prescribe radiographs (X-rays) to show the bone condition around the roots and the shape/length of the root (see the animation). These radiographs are almost always necessary to finalize a diagnosis. radiographs are also required to evaluate if your jawbone can allow the placement of implants.
If you had recent radiographs at your dentist (less than a year), bring them with you. This way, the periodontist might not need to take new ones. It will also avoid delays and the cost of a second visit at the periodontist to complete your exam, if we have to wait for your dentist to send us your radiographs by mail.
Once the examination is completed, the periodontist will explain the results, discuss your condition and suggest different options, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each of them (see treatment flow chart). This way, you will be able to make an informed decision based on your needs.