Perioscope FAQ

Perioscopy

The perioscope is used in a nonsurgical procedure to treat periodontal (gum) disease. This means there will be no cutting, stitching, or prolonged healing. The dental field has now joined other medical fields in adopting a minimally invasive form of treatment that can take the place of surgery.

Fiber optic technology has helped medicine in nearly all fields, including arthroscopy, laparoscopy, and gall bladder surgery, among many others. Tiny cameras can now be used to view root surfaces that, in the past, could only be seen during surgery. This advancement can help your doctor and hygienist treat periodontal disease, allowing them to view and clean tooth roots without the cutting, stitching, and limitations of traditional surgery.

What is the perioscope?

Perioscopy

The perioscope is a tiny camera that lets us have a detailed view of your root surface so we can remove all the hard deposits in your deep pocket. The root surface is magnified up to 45 times its actual size on a flat screen TV. As the camera goes under the gum, the hygienist can see the shape of the root, identify where deposits of plaque (bacteria) and calculus (tartar) are hiding, and remove them. Even the smallest piece of infectious material can be seen, thanks to the camera and its remarkable magnification and resolution.

Why should patients choose the perioscope?

Perioscopy

Perioscope - Perioscopy - offered by Periodontist Dr. Scharf in Long Island NYIf you have a gum pocket that is over 5mm, you are a candidate for the perioscope guided treatment. The reason a pocket develops is because there is bacteria below the gum line, beyond the reach of your hygienist's instruments. Removing this bacteria is the key factor in healing the gums and preventing tooth loss. Another valuable use of the perioscope is in the diagnosis of root fractures, which can be difficult to identify using traditional methods.

How is perioscope guided treatment different from surgery?

Gum surgery is the traditional means of removing tartar from a tooth root when the pockets are greater than 5mm. The perioscope is a revolutionary tool that lets the hygienist see under the gum without cutting—the camera provides a perfect view of the root. Specialized instruments are then used to gently remove the plaque and tartar. The beneficial results of surgery and perioscope are the same in many circumstances.

What additional care is needed after a perioscope appointment?

There are no restrictions on eating. At-home care should be done as instructed by the hygienist. The doctor may prescribe a medicated mouthwash to be used for a week after a session. Patients normally report the feeling of cleanliness.

Will the deep pocket go away after perioscopy?

In most cases, once a pocket is cleaned out, it will naturally reduce in size. However, even with surgery, there are no guarantees that a pocket will go away. In general, once the cause of infection is removed and the root is perfectly clean, the gum can heal.

Similar to a splinter stuck in a foot, plaque and calculus (tartar) are the splinters under your gums. In the same way that a foot will not heal until the splinter is removed and the area cleaned, the gums cannot heal until the root is clean. Perioscopy, surgery, and the laser are the only tools that can effectively clean the root in a pocket that has expanded to 5mm or greater.

What are the possible side effects of perioscopy?

In some cases, there may be sensitivity to cold for a few days. A desensitizer can be used on the teeth to help eliminate this sensitivity.

How long is a periscope appointment?

Each session is 1–2 hours long.

How much does perioscopy cost?

Perioscopy usually costs about one-third less than a comparable surgical procedure.

Can I eat after a perioscope session?

Yes, once the local anesthetic wears off, you can eat without restriction.

Will I have discomfort during or after the procedure?

Usually there is no discomfort during or after the perioscope treatment. Local anesthetic can be used during perioscopy to make the gum numb. Afterward, the gums usually feel better for having been cleaned completely. We offer all patients Advil or Tylenol after perioscopy to assure their comfort in case there is any soreness from the treatment, but this is rare.

How will I know if I have periodontal/gum disease again?

Gum disease is like diabetes. It cannot be cured completely, only controlled. There may be times when certain areas of your mouth need follow-up treatment. This can be determined by regularly measuring the depth of gum pockets as well as from X-rays and clinical observations of the gum tissue.

What are the symptoms of periodontal/gum disease?

Symptoms of periodontal disease include red, swollen gums, bad odor, shifting of teeth, bleeding gums, and discomfort while chewing or drinking. It is possible to have gum disease and have none of these symptoms, however, which is why regular dental checkups are so important.

What causes periodontal disease to recur?

Many factors may cause gum disease to recur. Stress, poor oral hygiene habits, missed periodontal maintenance visits, poor eating habits, and even genetic tendencies can all contribute to the recurrence of gum disease.