Periodontal Gum Therapy
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 experiencing gum disease and your periodontist 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, your periodontist 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 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 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.