Most of the time when people think about having good oral health, they focus on healthy teeth, but healthy gums are just as important! Oral hygiene neglect can lead to not only cavities, but gum disease. In fact, more than 3 million Americans suffer from periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a serious form of gum disease that if left untreated can damage the gums and jaw extensively. One out of every two American adults age 30 and older has periodontal disease.
Prevention is always the best option, but if you already have periodontal disease, there are treatment options available. One of the many services we offer here at Taylor Cosmetic Dental is periodontal therapy.
Non-surgical Periodontal Therapy
Some of the most effective non-surgical methods we use to treat periodontal disease include scaling, root planing and medication.
SCALING & PLANING
Scaling involves removing calcified plaque called calculus with special instruments (hand tools, ultrasonic tools or lasers). Planing refers to the way we smooth the tooth surface to remove any indentations or ridges that would be a magnet for bacteria accumulation. If it is particularly difficult case, we may use local anesthesia to help you relax and avoid unnecessary pain.
This technique smooths your tooth root and removes the bacterial toxins that are wreaking havoc in your mouth.
This is often our first step to addressing periodontal disease, and sometimes it is all we need to do to fix the problem. After this treatment, we can assess if further treatment is needed.
Surgical Periodontal Therapy
While prevention and non-surgical options should always be explored first, sometimes surgery is needed to repair your gums. But unlike removing an appendix or gallbladder, periodontal surgery isn’t a lifetime cure-all. It is a way to mitigate the damage that has already been done and put you in a good position to take care of your teeth in the future.
Surgical options to mitigate periodontal disease can include flap procedures, gum grafting, bone grafting and crown lengthening,
When gums deteriorate due to disease and neglect, they can form pockets of recession filled with bacteria. If these pockets are not addressed they can destroy your teeth and might even cause you to lose them entirely.
The flap procedure involves folding back the gums and removing the bacteria underneath. We then apply an antimicrobial rinse before closing it back up with sutures. We can also do tissues grafts or apply membranes or special proteins to stimulate healthy tissue growth. The sutures self dissolve or are removed within a few weeks.
These flap procedures are very widely used and often used a first line of defense.
Fun fact: this surgical technique is documented as far back as 1862 when a Hungarian dentist experimented with primitive flap procedures.
Gum grafting is done to repair the areas where your gums may have receded due to periodontal disease. The surgery involves taking healthy gum tissue from another part of your mouth, or a donor, and placing it in the receded area. Not only will this improve the look of your smile, it will restore function and prevent decay of the exposed tooth root.
Bone grafting is similar to gum grafting, but we use fragments of bone from another place in your body, donated bone tissue or even synthetic material to replace bone that has been lost to gum disease. This healthy tissue gives you a foundation to heal and regrow new healthy tissue. This treatment is often done if you need a dental implant but have insufficient bone to support it.
This procedure is actually a little more on the cosmetic teeth. Some people have “gummy” smiles and while their teeth may be an appropriate length, they are covered with excess gum tissue. In this procedure we cut away gum tissue and reshape your gums to expose more of your tooth.
Remember to call for your regular cleaning and check up where our hygenist and dentist can give your gums a good look over to see if they are in need of any extra attention!