Kory M. Zussman, D.D.S.

16311 Ventura Blvd., Suite 625
Encino, CA 91436
Telephone: (818) 907-1318
Fax: (818) 907-8213
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8am - 5pm

Why have you been referred to a Periodontist?

You may wonder why you need a dental specialist or, more specifically, a Periodontist. Your condition or needs are beyond the scope of treatment of the dentist whom referred you to our office. Your needs are over and above what they are trained to treat.

What exactly is a Periodontist?

A periodontist is one of two recognized dental surgical specialists. A periodontist's emphasis is the managing of the disease processes which affect the gum and bone support of the teeth thereby improving their health and retention. They receive extensive training in bone grafting, ridge augementation and dental implants. Training to become a periodontist requires several years following traditional dental school. All periodontist are dentists but not all dentists are periodontists. Periodontists are especially qualified in procedures requiring finesse and optimal aesthetics.

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a bacterial driven disease which destroys the bone support of the teeth, ultimately resulting in tooth loss. Other terms which you may be familiar with to describe this condition include Pyorrhea, Trench Mouth or simply Gum Disease. The proper name is Periodontitis or Periodontal Disease. This disease remains the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. In periodontitis, there is an interaction between the bacteria and the body’s immune system which caused the loss of gum and bone support and, ultimately, the teeth.

Can I be cured of my Periodontitis?

This disease process can be successfully treated and controlled on a long term basis. At this time there is no cure or medication which can rid a patient of this disease. Antibiotics should only be used on a selective basis for acute (severe) infections and are ineffective in the long term control of periodontitis. Research clearly demonstrates that periodontitis can be successfully treated over time. Treatment can lead to a slowing down, and in some cases, arresting of the disease process. Treatment of periodontitis encompasses a variety of modalities. The main goal is to reduce the bacterial component of the disease process thereby reducing the progression of the disease.

Why don’t I have any pain?

Periodontal disease is most frequently noticed by your dentist or dental hygienist and usually has few if any symptoms. Often the only sign of a problem is occasional bleeding of the gums or gum recession. Many patients are referred to a periodontist with a poor understanding as to why. Your dentist should be monitoring the health of your gum and bone support of the teeth on a routine basis. This monitoring can take the form of routine radiographs (X-Rays), periodontal "pocket" measurements or "probing", simple visual evaluation or a variety of other disease detecting procedures. Often your dental hygienist will be the one to note changes in the periodontal health of your teeth and may inform you of them. If you are not experiencing any symptoms, it does not indicate that there is no problem. Think in terms of medical conditions such as high blood pressure. A patient often has few if any symptoms but will still require care.

What can I do if tooth loss is imminent or has occurred?

If a tooth or many teeth are lost as a result of periodontal disease, or other causes, they can often be replaced with dental implants. Teeth can also be replaced with conventional dental appliances, such as a fixed bridge, or removable, partial, or full dentures. The placement of implants requires adequate bone. Bone grafting can be considered for the replacement or augmentation of the bone so that implants are an option. The best choice is to maintain the teeth and bone support by controlling periodontal disease.

Medical Implications

There is strong evidence in the medical literature which clearly demonstrates a correlation between Periodontal disease and a number of conditions including, but not limited to: heart disease, diabetes, stroke, atherosclerosis and premature delivery and low birth weight in infants. It is imperative to maintain a healthy dentition including your periodontal condition if there is any reasonable expectation of long-term whole body health.

Will my dental insurance cover my treatment?

If you happen have dental insurance, it may offer some benefits toward therapy. Frequently, routine periodontal procedures are covered by dental insurance.  Each policy and insurance company has different criteria and limits for reimbursement. If you have private dental insurance (non PPO) we will work with you to obtain the maximum compensation possible for covered services. Many factors influence the amount of reimbursement for treatment. The patient whom receives the care is ultimately responsible for all fees and payment is due at the time of service.

One stop shopping is not always in the patient’s best interest

Some dentists advertize themselves as being "Cosmetic" dentists. In reality, all dentistry should be cosmetic and appealing in nature. There is no "Cosmetic" dental specialty. One particular dentist may be far better with cosmetics than another. As a result they focused their practice in that direction. Unfortunately, people can be deceived by advertisement and promotional information which seems to imply that the dentist is qualified in all sorts of treatment, including Periodontics, dental Implants and gum Surgery. Unless this dentist has specifically completed a recognized American Dental Association specialty residency program, these claims stretch the truth. Any dentist that graduates from an Accredited school and completes the Board examinations successfully can, by law, delve into any aspect of dentistry they feel comfortable with. This does not indicate that they have additional and extensive training beyond what they received in dental school or in a several week long course. If you have a heart problem, would you see your general physician or a Cardiologist? Make sure that the dentist you have treat you is qualified to do so.


The Encino, CA office of Kory M. Zussman, D.D.S., offers treatment of all aspects of periodonal disease, cosmetic gum surgery, dental implants and more.