Your First Visit
When was the last time you met with your periodontist? If you have never visited with a Long Island periodontist or you can’t remember the last time you checked in, you're probably due for a periodontal exam. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends meeting with your Long Island periodontist annually for a comprehensive periodontal exam, or a CPE. Periodontists receive an additional three years of in-depth training regarding the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of all different kinds of periodontal disease. There is a reason that Dr. Scharf has been consistently voted one of the best periodontists in Long Island. During a CPE, Dr. David Scharf will evaluate your teeth, gums, and bite, as well as the health of your underlying bone structure, all to give you insight into the health of your mouth.
What to Expect During Your CPE
To make your first periodontal appointment as convenient and effective as possible, we suggest downloading our new patient paperwork and filling it out at home. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, we would be happy to mail you a welcome packet to make the paperwork process as convenient as possible.
During your first appointment, Dr. Scharf will conduct a careful oral exam to check for these problems:
The Presence of Oral Disease
Over 120 different diseases show symptoms in the mouth, such as discolorations, overgrown tissue, and loose teeth, which is why every periodontal exam starts with Dr. Scharf screening patients for conditions like oral cancer.
Deep Gingival Pockets
Using a very small periodontal probe, Dr. Scharf will measure the pocket depth between your teeth and gums. The deeper the pocket, the further bacteria has infiltrated underneath your gumline. Healthy teeth have a pocket depth of 1-2 mm, while someone struggling with periodontal disease could have gingival pocket depths as great as 7 millimeters.
High oral bacterial levels in the mouth can trigger an inflammatory response in the oral tissues, which is why Dr. Scharf will evaluate your tongue, gums, inner cheeks, and palate for any sign of inflammation. Severe inflammation can signal deep underlying infections that need to be treated immediately.
During your CPE, Dr. Scharf will also evaluate your candidacy for dental implants, look for damaged dental restorations, and review your medical history to find out if other systemic problems are contributing to your dental issues.
Creating a Treatment Plan
Dr. Scharf believes in involving the patient in every decision affecting your teeth, gums, and health, which is why he will never pressure you into a procedure that you don’t feel comfortable with. Dr. Scharf’s goal is to help you to understand your oral health and to make an educated decision based on your treatment. For this reason, Dr. Scharf will discuss his findings with you after your exam and give you options for addressing any problems. If you're confused about anything, please ask; we want you to be comfortable with your treatment.
Although many people assume that their teeth can be “too far gone” for treatment, every stage of periodontal disease is treatable—even very advanced stages where bone loss and tooth loss have occurred. Dr. Scharf will talk with you about the surgical and non-surgical treatments that could help your condition, so that you can select a treatment plan that best suits your dental goals, your preferences, your budget, and your timeline. Make an appointment for your CPE today!
Are Maintenance Visits After Initial Periodontal Treatment Worth It?
Absolutely. Periodontal treatment is divided into two phases. The first phase—the active phase—is designed to get your mouth healthy. The second phase—the maintenance phase—is designed to keep your mouth healthy. Gum disease is a chronic disease, and you will never develop an immunity to it. However, once treated, you can minimize the chances of it coming back.
Studies have shown that periodontal treatment with maintenance is very effective at preserving teeth and dramatically reducing the incidence of tooth decay and gum disease recurrence. Studies have also shown that periodontal treatment without maintenance is of little value in the long run in preserving periodontal health.