Department of Periodontics/Preventive Dentistry:  Patient Information

 

Listed below are common questions regarding periodontics


These questions and answers should not be considered medical or dental advice, or a substitute for a thorough office visit and a history and clinical examination performed by a qualified health care practitioner.  Patients and families are encouraged to schedule a visit to a dentist or physician, and to seek opinions from a licensed practitioner for advice on a specific problem.


Who is a periodontist?
How do I become a patient of the Department of Periodontics/Preventive Dentistry?
Contact information for patients?
What kinds of treatment are offered by the Department of Periodontics/Preventive Dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh?
What types of payment are accepted for treatment?
Are there any age limits on becoming a patient?
Where can I get more information?


Who is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a specialist who focuses on the treatment of periodontal disease and the placement of dental implants. Periodontal disease affects the supporting tissues and structures around the teeth, including the jaws and gums. After four years of dental school, the periodontist completes an additional three years of dental school/ hospital based training. The periodontist is prepared to provide a comprehensive range of diagnostic, non-surgical, and surgical services aimed at improving the periodontal health. Pre-prosthetic surgery can be provided to improve esthetics, or to reduce the sensitivity of a tooth to cold or hot temperature. Pre-prosthetic surgery is often an important part of implant treatment-planning and placement. More information can be obtained at www.perio.org.

How do I become a patient of the Department of Periodontics and Preventive Dentistry?
Individuals who come to or call the School of Dental Medicine for periodontal care will be referred to a periodontal resident if the severity of the periodontal disease requires the attention of a periodontist. Otherwise, patients are treated by dental students.

Patients also can be referred to the Department of Periodontics/ Preventive Dentistry by a practicing dentist in the community.

Patients who are already being treated at the School of Dental Medicine may be referred if recurrence of periodontal disease is diagnosed.

Contact information?
You may call the School of Dental Medicine Patient Appointment desk at 412-648-8616 to begin the process of receiving care at the dental school. Or you may directly call the periodontics department and ask for screening by the periodontal residents. The number is 412-648-8595.

What kinds of treatment are offered by the Department of Periodontics/Preventive Dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh?

Periodontists in the department offer a comprehensive list of periodontal therapies. Some of the services offered include:

  • Scaling and root-planing (deep cleaning) of teeth;
  • Soft tissue (gum and mucosa) therapy. Non-surgical and surgical treatment of the gums, the teeth, and the supporting tissues and structures;
  • Improvement of defects of the gum tissue (periodontal disease);
  • The placing of dental implants, and referral to the Department of Prosthodontics for the prosthetic restoration of the placed implants;
  • Bone defects resulting from periodontal disease can be grafted to enhance bone growth;
  • Antibiotic therapy for periodontal defects;
  • Sedation techniques to enhance performance of periodontal therapy and patient comfort.

What types of payment are accepted for treatment?
Most of the major dental insurances are accepted for treatment at the School of Dental Medicine. Please consult your insurance plan regarding the need for referral for specialty care, pre-authorization of services, and the details of covered services. Cash and checks are accepted. Depending on your plan, Pennsylvania State Medical Assistance is accepted for treatment. Payment plans for complex care can be negotiated with Financial Counseling at the School of Dental Medicine, after the treatment plan is determined by the dental student, the resident, and supervising faculty. No care is provided without the patient's written prior authorization.

Are there any age limits on becoming a patient?
There is no age limit. Patients of all ages are evaluated in our clinics.

Where can I get more information?
Please contact the School of Dental Medicine's Patient Appointment desk at 412-648-8616 to schedule a screening appointment with a dental student to begin the process of your dental care. Screening by a qualified health professional, as the dental student or the resident is under the supervision of school's faculty, is the only way to begin care; and the best way to answer dental or medical questions. You may also consult www.perio.org or www.ada.org for additional information, including informative fact sheets about specific topics in periodontal or general dental health care.