Gum Graft surgery
If gum recession is affecting your health or your appearance, a procedure called gingival (gum) grafting may be recommended. Although it might sound scary, a variety of gum grafting procedures are routinely performed by periodontists (specialists in the area of gingival tissue), and by some general dentists with specialized training in this field.
Gum grafting involves carefully placing a small amount of new tissue in an area where little or no gum tissue currently exists — typically recommended to prevent further gum recession or to cover root surfaces of your teeth that have become exposed. The tissue used in this procedure may come from a variety of sources but usually is taken from the palate (roof of the mouth), after the area has been numbed for your comfort. Then it is delicately sutured (stitched) in place where it's needed, using suturing material which may be finer than a human hair.
Your body's natural recovery process takes over after the grafting procedure is complete. During this time, new blood vessels grow into the graft and help it to become integrated with the surrounding tissue. A successful graft can reduce or eliminate problems like tooth sensitivity and further gum recession, as well as improve the aesthetics of your smile.
Gum Lift surgery
The term “gummy smile” is often characterized by an excess of gum tissue along the teeth, making them appear too short along the gumline. This can ultimately have an effect on the entire appearance of your smile, and for many people, is the cause of some degree of self-consciousness with the way they look. Fortunately, there are advanced periodontal procedures that can reshape the gums with terrific results. At Dental Associates of Arlington, we recontour and reshaped the gums. The shape, size, evenness, and brightness of your teeth are certainly important and make up a large part of cosmetic dentistry. However, if a person’s gums are problematic, they can throw an otherwise lovely smile out of balance.
A gum lift is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that creates an even gum line. Patients with gummy smiles can have excessive gum tissue removed, exposing more tooth, and improving the appearance of their smiles. With a gum lift, our experienced dentists can remove the excess gum tissue that’s causing a “gummy smile” and enhance the appearance of your teeth. Since we are able to “trim” the gums with laser technology, the entire treatment process can often be accomplished in a single visit, with a reduced risk of excess bleeding or infection. If you are looking for a periodontist near me, then please call our Arlington Periodontist for a consultation for your gum lift.
If you are experiencing gum disease and our Arlington periodontist (Dr. O'Connor) has noticed a loss of bone as well, bone regeneration may be a good option to restore the health and function of your smile. Bone regeneration is a periodontal surgical procedure that regenerates jaw bone and tissue in order to correct the damage caused by periodontal disease. Bone regeneration is often performed to protect your existing teeth and the soft tissues that keep them in place so that you can experience an enhanced quality of life as a direct result of improved health, function, and appearance.
Bone regeneration can also benefit patients with missing teeth and those who don't qualify for dental implants. Dental implants require a significant amount of jawbone prior to the procedure in order to be successful. Bone regeneration can help patients who suffer from a deteriorated jawbone support their restorations or prepare for an implant dentistry procedure.
Pocket reduction procedures
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming "pockets" around the teeth. Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.
Osseous surgery, or flap surgery, is usually performed when a pocket around a tooth (or teeth) has not responded to other treatments. A periodontal pocket reduction procedure has been recommended because you have pockets that are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine.
During this procedure, our Arlington periodontist specialist (Dr. O'Connor) folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, 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.
Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence. Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so it's important for you to reduce them. Reduced pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decrease the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal gum disease.
Dental Crown Lengthening
Crown lengthening is a procedure that involves trimming the gum tissue and often recontouring the bone. This is used to crown a broken/decayed tooth, to improve the health of the gum tissue, or to improve the esthetic look of a tooth as when we correct a “gummy smile”. A “gummy smile” is where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue resulting in a less than esthetically-pleasing smile or an area that is difficult to clean without the procedure. The procedure involves trimming or reshaping or recontouring the gum tissue and bone around the tooth or teeth to create gum and bone contours that are better looking, easier to clean and/or allow final crownwork to be made. Crown lengthening can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth, or the gum tissue on all teeth needing it.
Crown lengthening is often required when your tooth/teeth have had so much decay, or have fractured and need new crown(s). The edge of a crown should be at or just below the gum line and if it is too deep below the gum tissue is extremely difficult for your dentist to make the crown and for you to keep it clean. Crown lengthening allows your restorative dentist to build the crown, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. It will 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 periodontal gum disease.
If one tooth requires crown lengthening, it will probably be necessary to adjust the surrounding teeth to enable a more even reshaping. In some cases, shaping or removal of a small amount of bone will be necessary as well. It will take several months for the gum tissue and the bone to adapt to their new shape. Teeth will always look noticeably longer after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned. Teeth that have had crown lengthening can be sensitive to temperatures until their have the final crown(s) made. If you are looking for a periodontist near me on dental implants, then call our Dental Implant Specialist (Dr. O'Connor, Periodontist) today for a consultation.
Scaling And Root Planing
Most periodontal patients in our practice become very familiar with the two primary therapies we rely on to treat gum disease: scaling and root planing. Sounds a little disagreeable, yes. But scaling and root planing are the beginning of the end of periodontal problems. The treatment is tried and true, with a simple goal—get the “junk” out of there. Plaque, calculus, and bacteria, left to accumulate, will form pockets around teeth beneath the gumline. As pockets deepen and bacteria go to work, tissue becomes infected. Without care, tissue, ligaments and eventually bone are destroyed and you’re facing tooth loss.
Scaling and root planing is one of the most effective, non-surgical ways to treat gum disease before it becomes severe. Scaling is basically the process of removing dental tartar from the surfaces of the teeth. Root planing is the process of smoothing out the root surfaces and removing any infected tooth structure. If you have gum disease or gum pocketing, the gum pockets around the teeth will have deepened, thereby allowing tartar deposits to form under the gum line. A careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from deep periodontal pockets and smoothing the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins will help ensure that your gum disease is controlled.
Scaling and root planing is a simple procedure that can work very well to stop gum disease. Scaling and root planing does not usually cause much discomfort, but you might experience some soreness afterwards, since deeper regions under the gums have been cleaned. Your teeth themselves may become a bit more sensitive to temperature, and bleeding might occur for a little while after your procedure. Schedule a visit with our Arlington periodontist (Dr. Ann-Marie O'Connor, DMD, MMSc) to understand more about root scaling and planing.
Many teens and adults are completely unaware that they have an additional set of molars growing beneath the surface of their gums in the far back of their mouth. Your third molars, or wisdom teeth, have the potential to increase chewing and grinding power, but most people do not have the space in their mouth to allow these teeth to grow in properly. Patients with wisdom teeth are susceptible to several dental problems like tooth impaction, infection, gum disease, and misalignment of healthy teeth.
Wisdom teeth extractions are a fairly common procedure. Wisdom teeth often cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it means the tooth is coming in at an angle and not straight through the gum line. This can cause pain, the tooth can come in unevenly, or the tooth may only emerge partially. We recommend that the wisdom teeth be removed during the mid- to late teens to avoid potential problems.
Our oral surgeons and general dentist have been highly trained in surgical monitoring, CPR, sterilization processes, and the administration anesthesia to ensure the highest level of safety possible during your treatment. We specialize in extractions at Dental Associates of Arlington. Whether you need a wisdom tooth removed or other teeth extracted due to damage or decay, we can help…and we will do it gently.
Periodontal Gum Therapy
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues (gums) that support your teeth. Periodontal disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have periodontal disease. At each regular dental health checkup, we will measure the depth of the shallow v-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your tooth and gums to see how healthy your gums are.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums and cause periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, pockets develop between your teeth and gums; generally, the more severe the gum disease, the greater the depth of the pocket. Periodontal disease is classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Good oral hygiene at home is an essential first step for gum disease treatment. It helps keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular visits with our periodontist specialist (Dr. Ann Marie O'Connor, DMD, MMSc) for a lifetime of healthy smiles.