Dr. Paul Griffith’s Office is always welcoming new patients to the practice.
New Patient Experience
Complete examination and periodontal probing
Our doctors chart all the existing teeth and prior dental treatments as well as dental conditions that the patient presents with. We also do a thorough extra oral and intra oral soft tissue exam and oral cancer screening.
The gum measurements or probing depths are taken to determine the health status of the gums. Thereafter, a preventive regimen is recommended by our doctors. To help our patients partner with us, in preventing the progression of gum disease, we highly recommend that all our new patients watch a short 15 minute video on the topic .
During the new patient appointment, a full set of radiographs or x-rays are also taken, if the patient does not have one that has been taken within the past two years. The purpose of the x-rays is for the doctor to be able to visualize and examine areas in between the teeth, the ends of the roots, bone levels, and sinuses that are not clinically visible.
Once a year the x-rays have to be repeated to be able to see if any changes have occurred in the teeth or supporting structures. The frequency of dental radiographs is determined by our doctors adhering to the ADA guidelines and after doing a quick caries and gum health assessment. The danger of radiation exposure due to dental x-rays is minimal especially now with the advent of digital x-rays. Our office now takes digital x-rays which help reduce your exposure 2 to 3 fold! Please don’t hesitate to discuss with our doctors any questions or concerns that you may have in this regard.
Our doctors will sit down with you and discuss any concerns or questions that you may have regarding your oral health and dental treatment. They will discuss with you about your past dental experiences, your future oral health goals and how we can achieve it as a team.
This procedure involves cleaning the teeth and surrounding areas along and above the gum line. It is indicated for the patient who has excellent home care and the gums show no signs inflammation such as swelling, bleeding on probing, redness or soreness while brushing.
It is an inflammation and infection of the gum tissue which affects the teeth and supporting structures in the mouth and if left untreated will eventually lead to tooth loss.
Causes of gum disease
- Plaque bacteria
- Habits like smoking, tobacco chewing and alcohol
- Systemic medical conditions like cardiac problems,diabetes,rheumatoid arthritis
- Acids from foods and digestive tract
- Poor nutrition and obesity
Signs of gum disease
Discomfort is seldom associated with gum disease and hence it can go unnoticed for years.It usually comes to light only when diagnosed by a dental professional.Some of the symptoms that can present are :
- Bleeding, swollen gums
- Sensitive gums
- Receding gums
- Looseness in teeth
Scaling and Root Planing
This is also called as conventional, non-surgical periodontal therapy or deep cleaning. It involves removal of the inflammation causing agents around the teeth such as plaque (bacterial biofilm), its products and hardened plaque or calculus(tartar).
The process is usually done in two separate visits by the dentist or dental hygienist after numbing the gums. The plaque deposits formed both above and beneath the gum line are removed and the surfaces are smoothened with ultrasonic and hand instruments.
If the inflammation of the gums do not improve after non-surgical periodontal therapy, then a referral to a periodontist or gum specialist for surgical intervention will be recommended.
The periodic recall interval with the dentist or hygienist after scaling and root planing is called periodontal maintenance. This is usually every three months, because research has shown that this interval is the most optimal to reduce the risk of progression of gum disease. The periodontal maintenance therapy is akin to someone taking medication for diabetes. The progression of the disease can be slowed or halted only by taking the medication regularly. If the medication is stopped, the disease continues to progress. Similarly, the progression of gum disease can be slowed or halted if periodontal maintenance is performed regularly by the dental professional at the recommended intervals. Some patients, however, with good home care and regular periodontal maintenance over several years can achieve an increased interval between visits. This is based on the continuous documentation of gum condition done by the dentist/dental hygienist team. The areas around the teeth are cleaned both above as well as below the gum line to reduce inflammatory components and bacteria, unlike an adult prophy in which only the teeth areas above the gum line are cleaned and the gums are pink and healthy. An Adult prophy is usually done for the patient that does NOT have gum disease. For more information, please kindly discuss this with your hygienist or dentist. You can also check the following link www.perio.org which is the official web site of the American Association of Periodontology.