Dentist needed for periodontitis treatment

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Dentist needed for periodontitis treatment

After a long day at work and an even longer work week, it was finally Friday evening – Hooray! Alright then, off to a few cold ones with a few colleagues to let off some steam. I had already noticed it a few days earlier. On the way to the bar, it became even more noticeable. And once we sat down for a chat while waiting for our drinks, it only became worse: one of my colleagues (and a good friend of mine) had absolutely terrible breath. Of course it was inappropriate to address this topic in front of a handful of other people around the table and so I decided to wait until everyone else had left. “Ok, so I just have one comment – and please don’t be mad – but I think it would be a good idea to pay a dentist a visit to get a check-up on your breath.” I suggested carefully and explained the reason behind my comment as gently as possible. Fortunately, my colleague and I had become very close after several years of working together and so she accepted my suggestion absolutely calmly. “To be honest, I had also noticed that but I thought that it would get better by itself.” she admitted. “Apparently, I was wrong … alright, off to the dentist then.“

Bad breath due to parodontitis


What is gingivitis / periodontitis?

Once we made it to a dentist with weekend service, the situation became crystal clear: my friend was suffering from gingivitis. Oh no! Gingivitis (also called periodontitis) is an inflammation of the gums that is caused by bacteria and that manifests in the form of a thin film on top of dental surfaces and gum lines. If this condition remains untreated for an extended period of time, it can lead to a regression of the gum line and, in turn, expose the more sensitive parts of a tooth such as the tooth neck. As a result, a patient may experience very uncomfortable and painful complications including:
  • Agomphiasis (loose teeth) or even the falling out of teeth
  • Formation of gingival pockets in which food leftovers may accumulate
  • Regression of jaw bone substance
  • Expansion of periodontitis to teeth and gums surrounding an infected tooth/area
  • Bad breadth
  • Bleeding gums

In cases of gum inflammation, dentists use targeted treatment methods to stop the spreading of the disease, alleviate the infection, and reduce the depth of any previously formed gingival pockets. “Ok, let’s take a look at your diseased teeth. The exact degree of inflammation directly determines the exact scope of the treatment.” is what the dentist explained to us as he was expanding on his initial diagnosis.

Gingivitis – Early Stage

If gingivitis or any form of gum inflammation is diagnosed early enough, it can be treated via a combination of improved periodical dental care by the patient him- or herself and one (or several) professional tooth cleanings. In such cases, the dentist merely removes any present bacterial films from the surfaces of all affected teeth and the gum lines around them and then polishes and fluoridates each treated tooth to strengthen its health.  

Gingivitis – Advanced Stage

If gingivitis or any form of gum inflammation is already in an advanced stage when diagnosed, the dentist again starts treatment with one (or several) professional tooth cleanings) to reduce the number of bacteria in the infected areas. After this so-called “pre-treatment”, a patient is moved on to the main gingivitis treatment phase as part of which the dentist thoroughly removes any bacterial films and accumulations from any formed gingival pockets and tooth surfaces and roots. If necessary, the dentist also cuts out any heavily inflamed areas from the patient’s gum line. At the end of the treatment, the dentist smooths out the gum line and, if necessary, remodels any areas that he previously made cuts from. Depending on the severity of infection, a gingivitis or periodontitis treatment can last several weeks and up to a few months. “While your gingivitis is at a relatively early stage, I would recommend a full periodontitis treatment just to be 100% sure that we do not miss anything.” the dentist told us and estimated that the entire treatment would most likely take a few weeks (because, depending on the severity of infection, these treatments can last between a few weeks and up to a few months). “Ok.” my friend said visibly surprised “How much will this entire treatment cost?”


How much does a gingivitis / periodontitis treatment cost?

“Good question. The cost of a periodontitis treatment is strongly dependent on the exact scope and method of the treatment but I can still give you some guidelines prior to delving into the build-up of your personalized treatment plan.” said the dentist.
  • Modern Gingivitis Treatment: roughly EUR 10 - 25 per treated tooth
  • Modern Gingivitis Treatment via Laser: roughly EUR 30 - 40 per treated tooth
  • Microbiological Lab Test: roughly EUR 60 - 80
  • Pre-treatment (professional tooth cleaning): roughly EUR 100 – 300

Gingivitis treatment at the dentist

Periodontitis treatments that are certified as medically necessary by dentists are generally fully covered and paid for by state/governmental insurers. If a dentist uses more novel and/or higher-value treatment methods (e.g., laser), insurers may classify these services as above-medically necessary and, hence, not pay for them. Also, insurers do not pay for any lab tests (intended to determine the exact bacteria count in infected areas) or for any pre-treatments, meaning that patients have to cover the costs of these services out of their own pockets. “Thanks for the information. Could you do me a favor and declare my periodontitis treatment medically necessary? If yes, let’s get started and leave the laser option aside for now.” said my colleague. The dentist agreed and only 14 days later, my friend’s bad breath was gone and the next cold beer on the following Friday was that much more refreshing.

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