Frequently Asked Questions

A periodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the tissues surrounding the teeth. Periodontists are also trained in advanced procedures, such as placing dental implants.

Did You Know?

Morgan & Lemke Periodontics & Dental Implants is a regional leader in dental implant therapy.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection of the soft tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is caused by the buildup of bacteria known as plaque. This buildup can lead to inflamed gums, which eventually pull away from the teeth to form deep pockets between the tissue and bone. Plaque can become trapped in these pockets where it cannot be removed by regular brushing. When gum disease is left untreated, it can destroy the bone that supports teeth and lead to tooth loss. In addition, if these pockets become infected, the infection can spread throughout the jaw leading to potentially serious complications.

Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and can usually be treated with proper oral hygiene and thorough dental cleanings, including brushing and flossing. Severe periodontal disease may require more extensive treatment.

Periodontal disease is most often caused by inadequate oral hygiene that leads to the buildup of plaque. Additional factors that may contribute to your risk of gum disease include:

  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Aging
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Stress
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Use of certain medications
  • Systemic conditions, such as diabetes

When mild gum disease is neglected for too long, it can progress to the more severe form of gum disease known as periodontitis.

Periodontal disease is often silent. People may have the disease and be completely unaware of it until serious symptoms appear and significant bone loss has already occurred. However, you should be alert to any of the following common warning signs:

  • Your gums bleed while brushing or flossing
  • Your gums appear red, discolored or swollen
  • Your gums have started to recede (when the margin of gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away or pulls back)
  • You have started to develop chronic halitosis (bad breath)
  • Your teeth feel loose or they are separating
  • You have pus between the teeth and gums
  • You experience a change in the way your teeth come together when you bite down
  • You notice a change in the fit of partial dentures

When mild gum disease is neglected for too long, it can progress to the more severe form of gum disease known as periodontitis.

Your oral health is closely tied to your overall health. Research has demonstrated an association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease and respiratory disease. Men with periodontal disease are also at higher risk of developing certain cancers. If you’re pregnant, periodontal disease can lead to premature birth or low birth weight babies. The health of your mouth and smile impacts the health of your entire body; therefore, it is very important to treat periodontal disease as soon as possible.

Fortunately, periodontal disease can often be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes proper tooth brushing and flossing at home along with regular visits to your dentist for professional cleaning.

The American Academy of Periodontology also recommends that all adults receive an annual comprehensive evaluation of their periodontal health. This evaluation will include an examination of your teeth and gums, your plaque, your bite, your bone structure and your risk factors.

We provide a range of gentle, safe and effective non-surgical and surgical treatment options depending on your individual needs and the severity of your condition. Upon consultation, we may recommend non-surgical treatments including:

Scaling and Root Planing

One of the first steps taken to treat periodontal disease is scaling and root planing (SRP) – a method of deep cleaning the surfaces of the teeth below the gum line. This process can be effective at removing plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from the gum surrounding the root and promoting healthy regeneration of the gum tissue. Successful SRP, when followed by practicing good oral hygiene, can stop the progression of periodontal disease.

Laser Gum Treatment

Laser periodontal treatment or LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) is a minimally invasive treatment for severe gum disease that offers several benefits over gum surgery. LANAP is the only scientifically, research-proven approach for true periodontal regeneration, new bone growth and gum tissue reattachment.

If your circumstances require more advanced therapies, we may recommend one of several surgical treatments performed in our office, including:

Gum grafts

Also known as periodontal plastic surgery, gum grafting can protect your teeth from the damaging effects of gum recession and improve the appearance of your smile. Gum graft surgery repairs damaged gum areas to help prevent additional gum recession and bone loss. In some cases, gum graft surgery can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay. This may reduce tooth sensitivity and improve the overall look of your smile.

Bone grafts

When teeth are lost, the bone surrounding them starts to “resorb,” or melt away, which can lead to functional and aesthetic complications. Bone grafting is a minor surgical procedure used to treat boss loss caused by periodontal disease and other conditions that create a void including tooth extraction, trauma or congenital missing teeth. Bone grafts are also used to provide support for a dental implant. The procedure involves making an incision in your gum to access the bone beneath it, where grafting material is added. The type of bone graft we use depends on the extent of the damage you’re suffering from and the location of the missing tooth.

For most procedures, we will administer a local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort. Patients who require or feel more comfortable with additional sedation may receive oral medication, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or intravenous (IV) sedation. We also use laser assisted therapy, which greatly reduces post-operative discomfort.

Did You Know?

We may prescribe medications to ease any pain or swelling following your procedure. Most periodontal procedures cause minimal discomfort and require only one to two days of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Motrin®), to ease discomfort during recovery.

Ideally, our permanent teeth will last a lifetime. Extracting (or removing) a tooth is generally a last resort only after all treatments are used to save it. Yet, sometimes extraction is unavoidable due to disease, trauma or crowding. Fortunately, with innovative replacement solutions like dental implants, we can work with you to restore your smile following extraction surgery.

Many people will have their wisdom teeth removed over the course of their lifetime. For some, wisdom teeth come in correctly and pose no risk. For many others, however, their emergence can lead to problems that require their removal. We may recommend the removal of your wisdom teeth if you don’t have enough space in your mouth for them to surface or if they are coming through at a horizontal angle. In both these situations, wisdom teeth can threaten the surrounding teeth and nerves. Wisdom teeth also need to be removed if they become impacted, or trapped in your jawbone or under the gums, causing pain, inflammation or infection.

Your doctor will prescribe medications to ease any pain or swelling you may experience after your tooth extraction. You’ll also receive post-extraction instructions for the days following your surgery to ensure a successful recovery and to minimize the risk of any complications.

Morgan & Lemke Periodontics also offers platelet rich fibrin (PRF) therapy to our patients undergoing tooth extraction. This innovative technology enhances recovery by using your own blood to accelerate the body’s natural healing process. PRF therapy reduces the risk of infection and prevents a painful complication known as dry socket. PRF therapy is quick and painless, requiring just a simple blood draw, which is performed in our office on the same day as your procedure.

Modern dental implants are the best restorative solution for teeth that have been lost due to trauma, extraction, periodontal disease and decay or that have been missing since birth (congenitally missing). They are often a more effective, long-term alternative to bridges and dentures for missing teeth. Dental implants also help ensure that your facial structure stays intact. Because they look, feel and function like natural teeth, dental implants are quickly becoming the new standard in tooth replacement.

The dental implant is a small post, usually made of medical-grade titanium, that replaces the root of the missing tooth. The implant serves as a permanent, fixed anchor for a prosthetic tooth, or crown. Dental implants are the strongest devices available to support replacement teeth. In addition, as they fuse to the natural bone, they help to stimulate new bone growth over time. Dental implants can replace an individual tooth, multiple teeth or a full arch.

More than 3 million people in the U.S. have successfully received dental implants, a number that is growing by a half million each year. When performed by our highly- trained professional team, dental implant surgery is a very safe and reliable method of restoring missing teeth. Our office will work closely with your dentist to evaluate you as a candidate for dental implants.

Did You Know?

Without teeth or dental implants your jaw bone atrophies, causing a collapse or distortion of facial features, over time. Drs. Morgan and Lemke are leaders in the dental implant field. Contact us to learn more.

At Morgan & Lemke Periodontics & Dental Implants, we are committed to helping you achieve the smile you deserve. We offer a number of convenient and flexible financing options to help you pay for your care over time.