Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums. They may cause thegums to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth causing spaces to form which are called pockets. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus or tartar. This can occur both above and below the gum line. As periodontal disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that hold the teeth in place deteriorates. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. However, dont be fooled. With periodontal disease, bleeding, redness, and swelling do not have to be present. Further, pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease. This disease damages the teeth, gum, and jawbone of more than 80 percent of Americans by age 45.
Adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum disease than to cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and Periodontal Disease is by daily thorough tooth brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people can still develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
• Tobacco usage
• Clenching and grinding teeth
• Poor nutrition
NON-SURGICAL TREATMENT METHODS
Our Periodontal & Dental Implant practice provides a variety of surgical services. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are conservative in our treatment recommendations and limit surgery to the areas where it is absolutely necessary.
Many times, the early stages of periodontal disease are best treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy. Even in severe cases, non-surgical periodontal therapy often precedes surgical therapy. This is done to improve the overall tissue quality prior to surgery and also to help limit the areas requiring surgery.
PERIODONTAL SURGICAL THERAPY
A pocket depth reduction procedure is recommended when gum pockets are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine. Deep pockets contain disease-causing bacteria.
During this procedure, the gum tissue is folded back and disease-causing bacteria are removed before securing the gum tissue into place. Irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.
Deep pockets are more difficult for you and your dentist or hygienist to clean, so it is important to reduce them. Smaller gum pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional cleanings increase your chances of keeping your teeth.
BONE REGENERATION SURGERY
Traditionally, eliminating the gum pockets by trimming away the infected gum tissue and by re-contouring the uneven bone tissue treats gum disease. Although this is still an effective way of treating gum disease, sometimes there are other options. Guided tissue regeneration reverses some of the damage by regenerating previously lost gum and bone tissue. Most techniques utilize either membranes, bone grafts or tissue stimulating proteins that are inserted into or over the bone defects. Some of these membranes are bio-absorbable and some require removal.
ESTHETIC CROWN LENGTHENING
Although your teeth appear short, they may actually be the proper length. The teeth may be covered with too much gum tissue. We can correct this by performing the periodontal plastic surgery procedure called crown lengthening. During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue are reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to more than one tooth, to even your gum line, and to create a beautiful smile.
GUM GRAFTING PROCEDURES (SOFT TISSUE GRAFTS)
There are periodontal procedures available to stop or slow down gum recession, and/or to improve the esthetics of your smile. Exposed roots are the result of gum recession. Your gums may have receded for a variety of reasons, including aggressive tooth brushing, periodontal disease or hereditary factors. You may not be in control of what caused the recession, but a soft tissue graft will repair the defect and help prevent further recession and bone loss. One procedure is called the Connective Tissue Graft. In this procedure, soft tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and used to cover exposed root surfaces. This can be done for one or more teeth.
Another procedure is called the Gingival Graft. In this procedure surface gum tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and transferred to the tooth with gum recession. With this procedure, the root surface is not covered.
FUNCTIONAL CROWN LENGTHENING
Crown lengthening (or crown exposure) is required when your tooth breaks at or below the gum line and needs a new crown or other restoration. The edge of the crown is deep below the gum tissue and not accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone or below the bone. The procedure involves adjusting the level of the gum tissue and bone around the tooth in question to create a new gum-to-tooth relationship. This will allow your general dentist to place the edge of the crown at the gumline, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. It should also provide enough tooth structure so the new restoration will not come loose in the future. This allows you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to prevent decay and gum disease. When the procedure is completed, sutures are placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. You will need to be seen in one or two weeks to evaluate your healing.