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When to see a Periodontist

A periodontist is a dentist specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infections and diseases in the soft tissues surrounding the teeth, and the jawbone to which the teeth are anchored. Periodontists have to train an additional three years beyond the four years of regular dental school, and are familiar with the most advanced techniques necessary to treat periodontal disease and to replace missing teeth with dental implants. Periodontists also perform a vast range of cosmetic procedures to enhance the smile to its fullest extent.

Periodontal disease begins when the toxins found in plaque start to attack the soft or gum tissue surrounding the teeth. This bacterium embeds itself in the gum and rapidly breeds, causing a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, it starts to burrow deeper into the tissue causing inflammation or irritation between the teeth and gums. The response of the body is to destroy the infected tissue, causing gum pockets or gum recessions. The resulting pockets between the teeth deepen and if no treatment is sought, the tissue which makes up the jawbone also recedes causing unstable teeth and tooth loss.

Referrals from General Dentists and Self Referral

There are several ways treatment from a periodontist may be sought. In the course of a regular dental check-up, if the general dentist or hygienist finds symptoms of gingivitis or periodontal bone loss, a consultation with a periodontist may be recommended. However, a referral is not necessary for a periodontal consultation. You may contact us at any time if you have questions or would like to schedule an initial consultation or appointment.

If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it is important that you schedule an appointment with a periodontist without delay:

Bleeding while eating or brushing
Unexplained bleeding while consuming food or during the course of daily cleaning is one of the most common signs of periodontal infection.
Bad breath
Continued halitosis (bad breath) which persists even when a rigorous oral hygiene program is in place, can be indicative of periodontitis, gingivitis or the beginnings of an infection in the gum tissues.
Loose teeth and gum recession
Longer looking teeth can signal recession of the gums and bone loss due to periodontal disease. As this disease progresses and attacks the jawbone, (the anchor holding the teeth in place) the teeth may become loose or be lost.
Related health conditions
Heart disease, diabetes, osteopenia and osteoporosis are highly correlated with periodontitis and periodontal infections. The bacteria infection can spread through the blood stream and affect other parts of the body.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Before initiating any dental treatment, the periodontist must extensively examine the gums, jawbone and general condition of the teeth. When gingivitis or periodontal disease is officially diagnosed, the periodontist has a number of options available to treat the underlying infection, halt the recession of the soft tissue, and restructure or replace teeth which may be missing.

Gingivitis/mild periodontal disease
When the gum pockets exceed 4mm in depth, the periodontist or hygienist may perform scaling and root planing to remove debris from the pockets and allow them the opportunity to heal. Education and advice will be provided for an effective cleaning regime thereafter.
Moderate periodontal disease
If the gum pockets reach 4-5mm in length a more extensive scaling and root planning cleaning might be required. This cleaning is usually performed under local anesthetic.
Advanced periodontal disease
Gum pockets in excess of 5-7mm are usually accompanied by bone loss and gum recession. The periodontist may recommend non-surgical or surgical treatment to reduce pocket depth.
Tooth loss
Where one or several teeth are missing, dental implants are a wonderful option for tooth replacement. If the bone is strong enough to provide a suitable anchor for the prosthetic tooth, the implant can be placed. However, if the bone is severely eroded, bone can be recreated by the periodontist to provide a suitable anchor for the new tooth/teeth.
Contact Periodontal Associates in the Denver Colorado area if you have questions about periodontal disease, periodontal treatment or dental implants.

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  • Barbara SalesBarbara Sales

    I highly recommend Dr. Heller and everyone associated with Periodontal Associates. From the moment I walked in, through the entire several month process of receiving a dental implant, I was made to feel totally comfortable. As a somewhat nervous patient, this was so important to me! Every step of the process was explained to me and my questions were welcomed and answered. Dr. Heller is very personable, extremely competent, and thoughtful. I’m so grateful that I was referred to him, and I’m very happy with my implant.

  • Tracye WilhelmTracye Wilhelm

    Highly recommend!! Had the best experience with my gum graft here! They provide you with a retainer to help protect the upper incisions, and after a small blood draw, inject your own white blood cells to help speed up the healing of the grafts. Job well done, great staff, doctors, and assistants!

  • E. W.E. W.

    I needed to have a couple of gum grafts to fix receding gums in two areas and Dr. Heller came highly recommended by my dentist. I was dreading it, but it wasn’t really that bad - and now I’m glad I had it done. I experienced discomfort, as you might imagine, but I didn’t really have any pain - and it healed pretty quickly. The staff is really friendly and professional and they checked with my insurance before the procedure so I would know the cost ahead of time. This is the second time I’ve had a procedure there, and I honestly don’t think I would trust anyone else.

  • Jerome GilmerJerome Gilmer

    I was sent to Dr. Beckman on a referral from my dentist because of a slightly loose tooth. Dr. Beckman evaluated the situation and recommended a gum graft and bite adjustment. It is now six weeks since the procedure, and while the recovery was not painless, it was pretty much exactly as he said it would be. Upon evaluation earlier this week it was clear that the procedure was successful.

    Dr. Beckman and the staff were very nice, supportive and professional and I would highly recommend this practice to anyone needing this kind of help.

  • Sean HakesSean Hakes

    The team at Periodontal and Associates are unmatched when it comes to dental implants and general oral health. I've had the pleasure of knowing the team for prob 6 - 7 years as well as have been an on-going patient there as wall. Highly recommended!

  • Melissa H.Melissa H.

    Let's be honest here - there is nothing fun about having gum surgery. However, the staff and Dr. Heller were as good as it gets with regard to my treatment....

  • Lynne K.Lynne K.

    I've been seen by Dr Beckmann since he joined the practice. I know he and his staff truly care about their patients and their dental health. Very...

  • Karen Pelling LevineKaren Pelling Levine

    Dr. Doug Heller is one of three of the doctors that make up the driving force in my efforts to save my teeth and my overall health. What started out as one broken tooth led to the possibility of my losing all of my teeth to gum disease. Panicked, I reached for a second opinion and found Dr. Heller, along with my regular Dentist & Orthodontist. I am now the proud owner of only 5 implants, as opposed to full upper and lower implants OR full dentures. Though dental procedures are hardly fun, Dr. Heller and his staff have made it a smooth process, from financial to face-changing....I couldn't be happier. 😁 You be the judge. My profile pic, there on the left, is a fine example of their handiwork.
    Double Bonus: Doorbell just rang. Beautiful plant has just arrived to cheer me in my recovery....Thank you, Dr. Heller and your wonderful Staff!

  • Jerome GilmerJerome Gilmer

    I was sent to Dr. Beckman on a referral from my dentist because of a slightly loose tooth. Dr. Beckman evaluated the situation and recommended a gum graft and bite adjustment. It is now six weeks since the procedure, and while the recovery was not painless, it was pretty much exactly as he said it would be. Upon evaluation earlier this week it was clear that the procedure was successful.

    Dr. Beckman and the staff were very nice, supportive and professional and I would highly recommend this practice to anyone needing this kind of help.

  • Tori Horton HamillTori Horton Hamill

    Dr Beckman performed a gum graft. I was nervous, but he explained everything clearly and thoroughly. The staff were very accommodating when I had to reschedule and they keep the schedule flowing on time so I was not sitting and waiting beyond the appointment time. The only downside was having to ask multiple times about the cost and what my calculated out of pocket would be. Would definitely recommend.

  • Ashley AndersonAshley Anderson

    5 stars! Dr. Beckman and the entire office staff provide superior customer service and care. I recently had a gum graft performed and from the very first meeting I felt at ease. Dr. Beckman took his time explaining the procedure and patiently answered any questions I had. On the day of the procedure they go the extra mile to make sure you are comfortable- they use top of the line medical treatment for an effective procedure and speedy recovery. The team was very supportive and available through the entire process and even calls to check on you post procedure. I highly recommend Dr. Beckman and his team!

  • Doris BinderDoris Binder

    I needed to get some implants and Dr. Heller was recommended. Thankfully, he was absolutely wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect, but he explained everything that needed be done and the procedure began. Now it's not an over night process, but the weeks after each step was a piece of cake. I am so happy with my implants. I had to have a tooth pulled a few weeks ago, and I don't know how he does it, but I had zero pain, no complications and I needed no pain Meds. The staff is so friendly and I highly recommend them.

  • Kenneth McCallKenneth McCall
  • Jan BernsteinJan Bernstein

    Dr. Beckman and the staff couldn't have been nicer or more professional. I highly recommend the practice to anyone in need of a periodontist.

  • Chelsy LaForceChelsy LaForce

    Dr. Heller and the rest of the team is absolutely amazing. They are super helpful through the entire process and I knew I was in great hands. Thank you so much!

  • Terry Lavitt SeiverTerry Lavitt Seiver
  • Aprille Tripler MooreAprille Tripler Moore

    Dr. Beckman and the entire staff at Periodontal Associates are amazing! Dr. Beckman performed a gum graft procedure on me and to my surprise and relief I felt no pain. Not during the procedure or post op. The entire experience from consult through my last follow up appointment was topnotch.

  • Terry SandahlTerry Sandahl

    I have been a patient of first Dr. Versman and then Dr. Heller for over 20 years. This is an amazing periodontal group! I feel so comfortable having them take care of my needs~and there have been many! Dr. Heller is so easy going and I never feel like whatever he does will fail. They have a great support staff too! All their assistants are competent and friendly, and my hygienist Michelle is the best! Love these guys and wouldn't think of going anywhere else!

  • Holly DeLuise BodineHolly DeLuise Bodine

    I have some complicated dental issues but Dr. Heller and his team have handled them very well, and as painlessly as is possible. Dr. Heller explains things very thoroughly!

  • Scott A MiddlemistScott A Middlemist

    I had a great experience with Dr Helller and his staff. The procedure was fairly quick and painless with a great outcome. I fully recommend him and his office.

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