According to the American Academy of Periodontology, an estimated 100 million Americans are living with periodontal disease, a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.


If you have more questions, please contact Dr. Kohnen.

(713) 623-2260


Frequently Asked Questions

What is periodontal disease?

It’s a gum disease that includes gingivitis as well as periodontitis. Periodontal disease is an advanced bacterial infection affecting both the gums and the bone which support your teeth. Left untreated, it often leads to tooth loss.

What causes periodontal disease?

While there are several, the primary cause of periodontal disease is the bacterial plaque build-up on your teeth. Still more causes include:

– people genetically predisposed to gum disease (appox 30%)
– times of hormonal changes such as pregnancy, puberty, menstruation
– stress, which limits the body’s ability to fight off infections
– certain drugs and medications which can affect your overall health
– smoking is another factor negatively affecting the health of your gums
– pressure on supporting tissues from grinding or clenching your teeth
– diabetes, a condition which carries more risk for developing infections
– poor nutrition makes it harder for the immune system to fight off infection

What happens if I delay treatment for gum disease?

Since periodontal disease attacks below the gum line, you probably won’t experience any noticeable symptoms at first. With gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease, the gums redden, become swollen and sensitive, plus they bleed easily when brushed.

Without treatment, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis where more serious symptoms manifest with:

– toxic bacteria producing bad breath
– progressive and destructive infection
– degeneration of supportive tissues and bone
– gums receding from teeth forming deep pockets around them
– loosening and/or shifting of the teeth
– eventual extraction and tooth loss

Can I prevent gum disease with periodontal maintenance?

If you’re a smoker, quit immediately. There are numerous studies concluding that smoking substantially increases your risks of gum disease and subsequent tooth loss. The next best preventative measure to avoid gum disease would be daily brushing and flossing to remove the build-up of plague or tartar, a sticky, colorless film which forms on your teeth.

Personal daily cleaning will help minimize the danger, however, keep in mind that only regular visits to your dentist for a thorough cleaning and examination two times a year will prevent gum disease before it begins.

What is laser periodontal therapy?


Laser Periodontal Therapy is a laser based technique for the treatment of periodontal disease using the Millennium Dental Techniques, Inc., PerioLase Laser.  Fear of periodontal treatment vanishes when patients find out no scalpel or sutures will be used.  Patient friendly laser treatment gets patients ot agree to the treatment they need and continue with the follow-up care that is prescribed.

Our office is one of the first in the area to offer Laser Periodontal Therapy for the treatment of gingivitis and/or periodontitis.  Following are commonly asked questions about this technology.

How does it work?

Tarter, associated associated with inflamed and bleeding gums, is removed from the root surface of the tooth using an ultrasonic scaler and small instruments.

Then, a small amount of light energy from a laser is directed through a tiny fiber, which is gently placed between the gum and tooth.  This light energy removes a tiny amount of diseased tissue and aids in reducing the bacteria associated with the disease.  After the area is throughly cleaned, the body can heal the area naturally.

Does it hurt?

Although the procedure itself can be virtually painless, we may anesthetize the area for the patient’s comfort.  In this way we can precisely direct the laser for treatment.  Post-procedure discomfort is typically minimal and of short duration.

How long does it take?

Initial treatment is focused on scaling and the use of small instruments to remove the tartar.  Then, the laser portion of the treatment is performed and normally only takes a few minutes. Depending on the severity of the patient’s periodontal disease, treatment may be accomplished in one office visit or in multiple visits.  The estimated treatment time is reviewed with patients when we discuss their treatment plan.

Does this treatment cost more than traditional gum surgery?

Typically we use the same billing codes as traditioan gum surgery and the laser treatment is generally no more expensive than traditioanl surgery.  There are other factors which may affect the cost, such as teh severity of the periodontal disease, and how many teeth are involved. Many insurance palns pay only for a portion of this treatment. Patients should discuss thier payment options iwth the office as financing for this treatment is avaliable.

The dramatically increased comfort for our paitnets made the new system attractive to our office. We do encourage paitients to take care of the need now to reduce further damage to their gums, teeth and bone.

Will It hurt?

We will be as gentle as possible. The periodontal “exam” can be completed with no discomfort.

Furthermore, we offer seveal options of minimally invasive procedures to accommodate varying comfort levels of our patients while also delivering high-quality dental care.

The benefits of minimally invasive techniques:

  • Faster healing, with minimal to no downtime
  • Less or no pain
  • Less trauma for diabetic and immune challenged elderly patients.
  • Same Day options to traditional periodontal treatment, many done in less than two hours.
Can my teeth be saved?

Our first priority is to save your natural teeth and we take every measure to do so.  The recent advances in periodontal treatment allow us to successfully treat and save most teeth.

Dr. Kohnen is devoted to continued education to stay appraised of the latest procedures delivering the most effective treatment available for his patients.

What should I expect during a dental implant treatment?

Dr. Kohnen performs implant placement usually under a local anesthetic.  The treatment has two stages.

First the implant, a tiny piece of titanium that forms a foundation for attaching the future crown restoration, is surgically placed with the utmost precision utilizing 3-D software and CT scans.

After you have had time to heal, Dr. Kohnen will perform a treatment to uncover the implant, which has by now had time to fuse into your jawbone.

Finally, he will attache your restoration, or crown, which your dentists will have fabricated for you, over the implant, resulting in a healthy, natural-feeling new smile.


After your treatment we will provide you with detailed postoperative instructions, which if followed properly will result in the best possible outcome and a short recovery time. Dr. Kohnen will prescribe medication as needed, such as an oral antibiotic as a precaution against infection, and will provide you with a prescription pain relief medicine to help with any discomfort from the treatment.


Dr. Kohnen also uses “Laser-Biosimulation” to minimize post surgical discomfort.

What will it cost?
Since all patients are different, Dr. Kohnen must complete your examination before establishing your treatment planning and the fee for care. The fee for periodontal treatment can vary considerably depending on the type of problems and complexity and length of treatment. An approximate fee can usually be determined at the initial visit; but on occasion, some initial treatment or further diagnostics must be completed before the final treatment planning can be established. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals.