Your initial appointment will consist of an evaluation and consultation explaining your diagnosis and treatment options. We will complete an in-depth medical and dental health history and a thorough examination to measure for bone loss, loose teeth, bite, oral cancer screening and signs of periodontal disease. Once Dr. Helm reviews all the options with you, only then can you make an educated decision as to which course of action is best for you.
Please assist us by providing the following information at the time of your consultation:
- Referral Slip (if we don’t already have this)
- Health History & Patient Information Form
- X-rays from your referring dentist if applicable
- A list of medications you are presently taking
Please note that you can fill out the forms on our website, found under the instructions and forms header or just click here
IMPORTANT:All patients under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Will I need X-Rays or a CT Scan?
If your dentist has taken x-rays,we may request that they be forwarded to our office. If additional or more current films are necessary, they can be attained at our facility. In the event that a CT Scan is needed, we will coordinate this through a local imaging center.
Will It Hurt?
We will be as gentle as possible. The periodontal exam can be completed with little or no discomfort.
I am very anxious about dental care. What can you do to help me?
Our office offers a wide variety of anxiety control measures, from nitrous oxide to intravenous conscious sedation. We have appropriate anxiety relief available for just about every situation and every level of anxiety. It is important that you discuss your anxiety openly with Dr. Helm, so that the best method of anxiety control can be chosen. With the exception of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), all sedation options require that you have a driver to bring you to the surgical appointment. For intravenous sedation, it is essential that you not consume any food or beverages for 8 hours prior to the procedure.
Will My Insurance Cover The Cost?
Everyone deserves to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime. While periodontal treatment is not as expensive as replacing you natural teeth, the cost can vary greatly depending on your needs and dental insurance policies often cover some of your periodontal treatment.
At Bozeman Periodontics, we try to strike a balance between serving your needs and keeping costs reasonable. Therefore, if you request it, we can help you submit a claim to predetermine your insurance benefits. By taking this approach, we are able to keep our costs down, but we need your help in keeping them there. If you desire our assistance, please bring all medical and dental benefit information and cards to your examination appointment so we can assist you as much as possible. Please understand that you are ultimately responsible for payment of all services at the time those services are rendered. We feel that finances should never be an obstacle to treatment; therefore we offer several payment options which our finance manager will be happy to answer your financial or insurance questions.
Will I Need Surgery?
Not everyone needs periodontal surgery. If treated early, gum disease can be controlled without surgery. We will make recommendations based on your individual situation. Our practice philosophy is to treat as conservatively as possible to reach your goals and give you the smile you deserve.
Can My Teeth Be Saved?
Recent advances in periodontal treatment allow us to successfully treat most teeth but in the event that your teeth cannot be saved, dental implants are an option that can restore your beautiful smile, allow you to eat just about anything, and protect your jaw line from premature aging.
When Will I Go Back To My General Dentist?
We will work closely with your General Dentist. If crowns or fillings are needed your General Dentist will provide them. Regular visits to either or both, your General Dentist and here in our periodontal practice are important parts of periodontal maintenance.
What If I Don’t Have Gum Treatment?
Periodontal disease is a progressive, painless infection. Delay in treatment can cause you further bone loss, more expense and eventual tooth loss. If your teeth are lost, dentures are never as effective as your own teeth; however dental implants may be placed to simulate natural teeth.
If any of your teeth are lost, the rest of your teeth may start to shift. Most people who lose teeth also lose part of the jaw bone over time, leading to an appearance of premature aging. The more advanced you allow periodontal disease to become, the more costly and time consuming treatment may become. It is also important to know that as you start to lose teeth to periodontal disease; it is easy to lose control over your dental future due to the issues mentioned above.
Periodontal disease is similar in many ways to diabetes: it is usually painless, is easily ignored until it becomes a serious health issue, and both are chronic diseases that are controlled and managed quite effectively. Both periodontal disease and diabetes, when left untreated, are associated with heart disease and other medical conditions.
Studies have been done to compare tooth loss in people who received periodontal treatment to people who did not seek periodontal care. Although periodontal therapy does not guarantee the prevention of further tooth loss, people who are not treated increase their risk of tooth loss 10 times compared to patients who were treated. Reducing tooth loss by a factor of 10 demonstrates that periodontal treatment is one of the most effective dental treatments available.
Do you check for cancers in the mouth?
Regular cancer screenings are essential for early diagnosis and treatment of oral cancers. Although the consumption of excessive alcohol and/or tobacco increases the risk to develop cancer in the mouth, many cases develop without any known risk factors. At the time of our initial examination, we do a routine, non-invasive screening for oral soft tissue cancers.
I heard that lasers can treat my periodontal disease?
Lasers are simply another tool available to clinicians. Lasers do not replace proper diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease and can even be harmful if used inappropriately. A panel of experts convened by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs presented an evidence-based clinical practice guideline on nonsurgical treatment of patients with chronic periodontitis by means of scaling and root planing ) with or without adjuncts. Recommendations for the nonsurgical use of lasers as scaling and root planing adjuncts were limited to expert opinion against because there was uncertainty regarding their clinical benefits (JADA July 2015 Volume 146, Issue 7, Pages 525–535). Ultimately every clinician must decide if the laser (and its cost to the patient) is in the best interest of patient care.
I am tired of my dental problems. Why not take all my teeth out?
Some patients do become frustrated by the problems they have had with their teeth. If you feel that way, it is best that you honestly and openly discuss this with Dr. Helm during your initial consultation. Removal of all teeth may or may not be indicated, but your desires as a patient play a significant role in developing a treatment plan. As always, good communication is essential for the best treatment result.