For adults, gum (periodontal) disease is a major cause of tooth loss. These diseases can be caused by bacteria that attack gums, ligaments and bone.Warning signs include: bleeding, red or swollen gums, gums pulled away from your teeth, a bad taste in your mouth and/or bad breath. Treatment will depend on the type of disease and how it has progressed.
Pocket Reduction Procedures
Your bone and gum tissue are meant to fit snugly around your teeth. When periodontal disease exists, the bone and tissue deteriorate and “pockets” form around your teeth. Left untreated, these pockets grow, giving more space for bacteria to live and multiply. The bacteria exacerbates the problem leading to more bone and tissue loss. Eventually, this will lead to tooth loss or extraction. If the dentist determines that you have pockets that are too deep for you to effectively clean with traditional methods, a pocket reduction procedure will be recommended. During this procedure, the dentist will fold back the gum tissue in order to remove bacteria, and then re-secure the tissue into place. If necessary, irregular surfaces of damaged bone will be smoothed to eliminate areas where bacteria can grow. Good oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings along with reduced pockets will increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure used to treat periodontitis (gum disease). According to the Journal of Evidenced-Based Dental Practice, this deep cleaning procedure is considered the "gold standard" for patients with chronic periodontitis. When plaque and tartar accumulate around and under the gums, it can lead to deep pockets, loss of tissue and bone, and eventually teeth. When the dentist determines you have advanced signs of gum disease, we may recommend scaling and root planing as the first procedure to treat this condition. Scaling and root planing teeth may take more than one appointment. Typically, a local anesthetic is used for your comfort. The procedure involves scaling bacterial toxins, plaque and tartar from teeth and root surfaces; followed by smoothing any rough areas on root surfaces. This will help to keep bacteria from gathering there and will allow your gums to heal and reattach firmly.
Dental Crown Lengthening
Do you have a “gummy” smile causing your teeth to appear short? It is possible that your teeth are the proper length, but they are covered with too much gum tissue. It is likely that this can be corrected with dental crown lengthening. During this procedure, excess bone and gum tissue are reshaped, exposing more natural tooth. This procedure can be used on one tooth, evening out your gum line, or on several teeth giving you a beautiful, natural smile. Crown lengthening can also be used prior to a restorative or cosmetic procedure if the tooth is decayed or does not have enough structure for a restoration. Crown lengthening can adjust the gum and bone level to expose enough tooth, allowing it to be restored.
Replacement teeth supported by implants work exceptionally well because of the way they are anchored into the jawbone for support. This only works if you have enough tooth-supporting bone in your jaw to hold a dental implant. When you lose a tooth, the surrounding bone deteriorates and the longer that tooth is gone, the more bone you lose. If you want to replace the tooth with an implant, but don’t have the bone to support it, bone grafting may be your answer. The bone grafting procedure involves making a small incision in your gum to expose the bone beneath it and grafting material (which can come from your own body or elsewhere) is added. The grafting material will eventually be absorbed and replaced by your own new bone which will be strong enough to support an implant. Any soreness after surgery can typically be managed by over-the-counter pain relievers and you should feel back to normal quickly. It does take up to about seven months for your new bone growth to mature enough to receive your dental implant.