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Initial Visit

Please arrive approximately 10 minutes prior to your initial appointment time so we can verify any information.


Your initial exam will last approximately thirty minutes to one hour. We will review your medical and dental history and perform a comprehensive examination of your teeth and gums. In most cases during this initial consultation, we will be able to provide a diagnosis of your periodontal condition and propose a treatment plan to improve your dental health.

Because we know your time is important, we try to stay on schedule to minimize waiting. Prior to your appointment, you will be mailed health history and registration forms. These forms can also be downloaded from this site.

Please assist us at the time of your first visit to our office by providing the following information:

  • Your referral slip, health history and registration forms
  • Any x-rays from your referring dentist (if given)
  • A list of medications you are currently taking
  • Your dental insurance card, if insured

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be referred by a dentist to see a periodontist?

No, you do not need to be referred to have an examination or therapy in our office. We are always happy to accept new patients to our practice. If you do not have a general dentist and we feel you would benefit from seeing one, we can refer you to a restorative dentist who would meet your needs and personality.

Why is my dentist referring me to a periodontist?

General dentists are trained to diagnose and treat early periodontal disease. The fact that you have been referred means that your dentist feels you would benefit from the advanced training that a specialist receives. Feel fortunate that your dentist is able to make the diagnosis since periodontal disease usually causes no symptoms or discomfort.

How is periodontal disease treated?

Periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive, cost effective manner. It is most commonly treated through a non-surgical periodontal procedure called scaling and root planing. The aim of treatment is setting your body up to heal itself.

How painful is periodontal treatment?

Everyone at our office is committed to making your treatment as comfortable as possible. A numbing agent is used for all procedures so that dull pressure is the only sensation you are aware of. At no time will there be any pain associated with your treatment. There are also means by which any anxiety can be easily controlled with oral medication. This will be addressed at your first visit as well.

At my first visit, what will the doctor do?

During your first visit, your medical and dental history will be reviewed and then you will be given a thorough periodontal examination. Any additional x-rays will be taken, if needed, for an accurate diagnosis to be made. After the examination has been completed we will explain our findings and treatment recommendations. All questions that you may have will be answered before you leave the office that day. Our goal is to help you understand your condition, its severity and what you can expect from your treatment.

How much will my treatment cost and is it covered by insurance?

The cost of your treatment will depend on the severity of your condition and extensiveness of your treatment. Each patient is evaluated and a treatment plan developed on an individual basis. Therefore, it is not possible to give an average cost.

If you have dental insurance, it can help cover some of the cost of your treatment. Your dental insurance benefit will be affected by the deductible, plan limitations, total amount of benefit available per year, and how much of your benefit has already been used.

My staff will be in contact with your dental insurance carrier to clarify your coverage and review this with you at your initial visit. For treatment procedures, which involve more than your insurance provides, payment options are available.

What will happen if I don't have periodontal disease treatment?

Periodontal disease slowly destroys the gumline and bone support for the teeth. While this rarely hurts initially, it eventually results in the teeth loosening and then being lost. The ongoing infection of periodontal disease has recently been linked to the other systemic medical conditions, including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and premature low birthweight infants.

What is the role of my general dentist?

Your general dentist is the most important member of your dental health care team. He/she is still in charge of your overall treatment. Your general dentist is made aware of our initial findings and treatment plan and is kept informed as to your progress through your treatment here. We will work closely together to ensure the best possible result for your treatment.

What happens after my periodontal treatment is complete?

After your initial scaling and root planing, Dr. Altschuler will reevaluate your condition. Most patients do not require further active treatment, only continued, routine cleanings. If scaling and root planing does not result in healthy gums, then surgical options are available.

Financial Matters

Our Financial Policy

Dr. Altschuler believes that financial concerns should never stand in the way of excellent periodontal and implant care. Our expert team will work closely with you to design a payment plan that fits your needs. We can even arrange interest-free financing for qualified patients through CareCredit. For your convenience, we welcome MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. Together, we’ll make state-of-the-art periodontal and implant therapy surprisingly affordable for you.

Emergency/Single Visit Payments

For single-visit procedures, our policy is that payment is due in full at the time of service.

Multiple Visit Payment Options

Full payment at the time of service is requested for patients who do not have dental insurance coverage. This also applies to patients with insurance companies that will only send payment to the patient. For those who would prefer an extended payment plan, outside financing is available for patients who qualify with CareCredit.


As a courtesy to our patients with dental insurance we will submit necessary claim forms, receipts, and other information to your insurance company. Our insurance coordinator deals with many different insurance companies. Some companies offer many different dental plans. These companies can change benefits, co-pays and deductibles throughout the year. Further, most dental insurance policies are limited and often only pay for a portion of the procedure(s) that may need to be done. The majority of dental plans reimburse approximately 30%-80% of treatment costs.

With this in mind, we ask that 50% of the fee be paid at the time of treatment. Upon receipt of your insurance payment any balance due will be billed to you. If your insurance pays more than anticipated the balance will be promptly refunded. We do our best to provide you with accurate coverage estimates based on information available to us. As a courtesy, we ask that you keep us informed of any change to your insurance. It is important that all information about you and your insurance is current.