Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a referral?  Are you accepting new Patients?

You don't need a referral to be seen at Mission Perio.  Request an appointment at www.missionperio.com or call us at 403 263 1299.  Especially if you have: signs or symptoms of gum disease, have gum recession, gummy smile or need dental implants and want a specialist to see you.

We are accepting new patients and your friends and family are welcome as well.  Be sure to tell us how you found us.  You can come and see our great hygienists Erin, Tracy and Norma if you want a professional cleaning and polish.  Don't wait for your gums to bleed or the tartar to build up below the gums before you call us.  We want to see you before you have symptoms to prevent gum disease. 

What are my payment options?

Mission Perio strives to deliver care at a reasonable cost to our patients.  We charge very close to the Alberta Dental Association & College fee guide for Specialists therefore payment is due at the time service is rendered. For your convenience, we accept cheque Visa, Mastercard, Debit and Cash.

What will my insurance pay?

Dental benefit plans are designed to help patients pay for their dental treatment.  Every insurance benefit plan is different  and is based on the insurance company and your benefit plan.  Your HR department is a valuable resource.  We will be happy to supply you with electronic claims and pre-treatment forms submitted on your behalf, which are required to receive benefits through your dental plan. Sometimes additional information may be requested in order to ensure that the treatment is covered. In such cases, the Insurance will write to you and ask for information from our office. We will supply any information you request. Not all dental treatment is eligible or fully reimbursable. If your dental treatment is only partially covered, you will have to share in the cost of your dental care.  Ask us as sometimes we can stage treatment over time to help you.

Remember, you are a partner in your oral health. All treatment and care decisions should be made by you, Mission Perio and your Dentist based upon your actual needs, aside from your dental plan coverage. Your dental plan is not your treatment plan!

What is gum disease?

Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth.  You can remove the bacterial plaque above your gum with brushing and flossing but below the gum in the deeper pockets you can't.  Once the plaque hardens to tartar (calculus) we your specialists at Mission Perio need to remove it to treat the infection and inflammation.  The consequences of not removing the tartar are more inflammation, bone infection and tooth loss due to the infection. The consequences to your health due to gum infection increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other inflammatory diseases.

What are the consequences of missing teeth?

There are actually several negative consequences of missing some or all of your teeth. First, missing teeth will affect the esthetics of your face. Not only will your smile be affected by the gaps from missing teeth, but if you’re missing too many teeth you lose the bone around your teeth making the skin around your mouth un-supported & start to sag, making you appear older.  Missing teeth will make it more difficult to chew food properly and you need to eat healthy fibrous food to keep you healthy.  Tooth lose may even affect the way you speak. Missing some teeth (especially the big molars at the back which help you chew) will put far too much pressure on the front teeth and they will flare and become lose.  The mouth is in balance and needs enough teeth to distribute the force of chewing. Finally, missing even one tooth may have emotional consequences; many people feel less confident about their smile when they are missing teeth. If you are currently missing any of your teeth, consider replacing them with dental implants, which can look and feel just like natural teeth. For more information about implants, browse www.perio.org or talk to Dr. Allain or Dr. Yaholnitsky at Mission Perio.

Gummy Smile

I have big gums and short teeth, so when I smile you can almost only see my gums. I don’t smile very often anymore because I am so self-conscious about my gums. Is there a way to improve my smile?

Yes, we can enhance your smile. It’s a good idea to discuss your options with the Mission Perio team.  We can explain the best way to create the smile you want, as well as answer any questions that you may have.

We can remove excess gum tissue by a procedure known as crown lengthening. After excess gum tissue is removed, the gum line is reshaped in order to create the right proportion between gum tissue and tooth surface. Your general dentist, orthodontist, Dr. Allain and team may also work together to coordinate additional treatments such as veneers, crowns or braces.  

Gum Recession

Gum recession has many causes.  Thin gums, inflammation, gum disease, heavy bite, grinding, clenching, big teeth, small jaw bone, crowding, are some possible factors. Once the gum recedes the bone in that area has been lost so there is less support.  When the root is exposed the consequences of no treatment are root decay, further bone loss, plaque build up, more inflammation.  Its hard to keep the roots clean and free of plaque when the gums are thin, inflamed and lower.  Dr. Allain and the Mission Perio team can grow the gums and the bone around teeth especially if we treat the problem before it's too advanced.  We want to keep your teeth for the long term, healthy, pain free and looking their best! 

 

How often do I need a professional cleaning.  Why do I need the hygienist to clean my teeth so often.

Everyone is different.  At Mission Perio we assess your level of disease, your level of plaque build up, your level of tartar or calculus build up above and below the gum and your level of inflammation which includes your level of bleeding gums.  We assess the following factors such as: more bone loss, deeper pockets 4mm and above, more inflammation and bleeding, mobility, missing teeth, root exposure and gum recession to come up with an assessment of how often you need a cleaning.  The more disease and buildup below the gum the more often you need to see us.  When you have other inflammatory diseases or health conditions the more often you need to see us.   We want you to remove the plaque bacteria above the gum but you can never remove or sterilize the mouth.  Even if you clean perfectly above the gum you can't reach the hardened deposits below the gum that cause gum disease and bone loss.  That's why you need a periodontal hygienist to remove the factors that cause gum disease. Some people need cleanings every 2 months with very aggressive build-up, root exposure and more disease.  Your average Periodontal patient needs the build-up removed at 3 month intervals to prevent further bone loss to keep the teeth healthy.  Without gum disease every 6 to 9 months is often adequate especially if you can help us by keeping things clean above the gum.  Bleeding gums is a sign that the infection is back again.  In a perfect world we want to see you before you have signs or symptoms of disease so we can prevent bone and tooth loss.  

Is periodontal disease contagious?

Research has shown that periodontal disease is caused by the inflammatory reaction to bacteria under the gums, so periodontal disease technically may not be contagious. - (J Perio April 1992, Vol. 63, No. 4s, Pages 322-331)

However, bacteria that cause the inflammatory reaction can be spread through saliva.  If one of your family members has periodontal disease, it’s a good idea to avoid contact with their saliva by not sharing eating utensils or oral health equipment. If you notice that your spouse or a family member has the warning signs of a possible periodontal problem (bleeding, red and swollen gums, or bad breath) you may want to suggest that they see the Mission Perio specialists for an exam. It may help to protect the oral health of everyone in the family.  If you and your partner both have gum disease getting regular hygiene care together will help as there are studies to show that family members have similar species of pathogens. 

I was recently diagnosed with periodontal disease. How often should I see my periodontist for an examination?

Regular examinations are very important to keep track of the present status of your disease and any disease progression over time. Your periodontist at Mission Perio will work with you to create a maintenance schedule depending on how advanced your periodontal disease is at that time.

Based on many variable factors such as your overall health, the severity of bone loss, and risk factors such as smoking and genetics, your periodontist will constantly tailor your care so your periodontal disease does not progress further.   Mission Perio may recommend exams every year for mild periodontal disease, or every few months for more advanced stages.

Who should treat my periodontal disease: my general dentist or a periodontist?

Instead of leaving your treatment to one dental professional, you should consider having both your general dentist and a periodontist be actively involved in the diagnosis and treatment of your periodontal disease. This team approach will help your general dentist (who is familiar with your dental and medical history) and your periodontist (who has extensive experience treating periodontal disease) collaborate to tailor a treatment plan that works best for your individual case.

Why can’t my dentist's hygienist clean my teeth?

In some situations, your dentist’s hygienist can maintain your teeth. Although all dental hygienists come out of school with similar training, those working in a periodontal office have adequate skills required in treated the more complex cases seen by the periodontist.  That is why your Dentist referred you to Mission Perio in the first place. 

I have heard there is a connection between gum disease and heart disease. Is this true? Where can I find more information?

The connection between gum disease and heart disease is a very hot topic in the field of periodontics right now! Several research studies have indicated that heart disease and gum disease may be linked, and researchers suspect that inflammation may be the basis behind this relationship. If you are at risk for heart disease, it is a good idea to mention this to your periodontist, since gum disease may increase this risk. Get additional information on the connection between heart disease and gum disease, as well as the connection between gum disease and other systemic conditions.

Is there a link between periodontal disease and diabetes?

Research suggests there is a link between diabetes and gum disease. - (Annals Of Periodontology July 1998, Vol. 3, No. 1, Pages 51-61) People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal problems, possibly because people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered one of the major complications of diabetes. Interestingly, the relationship between the two conditions goes both ways; just as diabetes can increase a person’s chance of developing periodontal disease, research suggests that efficient and effective periodontal hygiene may positively affect blood sugar levels. - (J Perio October 1992, Vol. 63, No. 10, Pages 843-848)

Both of my parents have periodontal disease, and I’m worried that it may be genetic. Is there a way to determine my risk of developing gum disease?

First of all, congratulations on being proactive about your health! Recent research has shown that genetics may be involved in a person’s risk for gum disease, but there are a variety of other factors that also play a role. - (J Perio; May 2010, Vol. 81, No. 5, Pages 646-649) The American Academy of Periodontology has an online risk assessment tool that you can use to determine your risk level for gum disease. The test only takes a few minutes to take, and you should discuss the results with your periodontist. Take the gum disease risk assessment test.

What can I do at home to prevent periodontal gum disease?

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to take good care of your teeth and gums at home. This includes brushing your teeth after every meal and before bedtime, flossing between all teeth at least once each day (best at night), and seeing your dentist or periodontist at Mission Perio for regular exams once or twice a year. Spending a few minutes a day on preventative measures may save you the time and money of treating periodontal disease!

What are the common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is often silent, meaning symptoms- particularly pain- may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, you should still be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms, which include:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth

  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or when eating certain foods

  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before

  • Loose or separating teeth

  • Pus between your gums and teeth

  • Sores in your mouth

  • Persistent bad breath

  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite, splaying teeth or loose teeth

  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your dentist or periodontist right away! Call Mission Perio. 403 263 1299 or www.missionperio.com

Other than diagnosing and treating gum disease, what else have periodontists been trained to do?

Most periodontists spend the majority of their time diagnosing and treating gum disease, but there are a variety of other procedures that they are able to perform. Periodontists place dental implants when natural teeth cannot be saved. They also monitor the implants to make sure that they’re properly doing their job.  Implants can get gum disease. 

Periodontists may also correct gum recession and cover up exposed root surfaces which can be unsightly as well as sensitive to hot and cold. These procedures are often used to lay the foundation for additional cosmetic procedures to help create a beautiful smile.

Finally, periodontists at Mission Perio can be integral in the comprehensive planning of your oral care, along with your general dentist or other dental professionals.

Can children be at risk for developing periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease can be found in children but its rare, and only sometimes found in adolescents. However, children should still learn the importance of keeping their teeth and gums healthy to prevent periodontal disease in the future. Children should brush their teeth twice a day and learn how to floss properly- if children learn how to floss at an early age, they will be more likely to make it a lifetime habit. These two simple acts will help protect their teeth and gums from periodontal disease.

As a parent, you should also be aware of the warning signs of periodontal disease, which include red, swollen, bleeding gums, or bad breath that won’t go away. If your child develops any of these symptoms, tell your dental professional right away. It’s also a good idea to ensure your dental professional knows your complete family history, as genetics, and inflammatory diseases can play an important role in the early development of periodontal disease.