If you’re at risk for gum disease, we feel it’s important that you have all the facts on available treatments. By working together, we can help to reduce the impact of gum disease as well as give you the best outcome possible for your situation.
Depending on the stage of gum disease and the severity of the problem, various options may be presented to you. Listed below are some procedures used to help treat your periodontal disease:
Keep in mind: Not all of these options will pertain to your particular case.
Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)
Scaling and root planing removes the plaque and tartar that has accumulated BELOW the gum line and at the roots of the teeth. If the conditions are favorable, this treatment option may restore your gums to a healthy state without the need for surgical treatment. Scaling and root planing is routinely done with a local anesthetic.
This is beyond the cleaning that a hygienist in a general dental office might do. When scaling a tooth, we scrape off the tartar from above as well as below the gum line. Root planing smooths out rough spots on the root of the tooth where germs gather. This also helps to remove bacteria which contribute to your periodontal disease.
Some medications may help to combat the infection. Antibiotics may be prescribed, or the antibiotic might be placed directly into the infected pocket.
Bone loss can be worsened by an uneven bite or other bite problems. Grinding or clenching the teeth may also contribute to the problem. An adjustment to the bite can reduce pressure and help control the damage.
Maintenance and Prevention
Preventing plaque and tartar buildup is essential for successfully managing your periodontal condition. Regular visits for exams and cleaning should now be part of your routine. Our experienced staff will carefully monitor your progress so your teeth and gums remain as healthy as possible. They’ll walk you through how to perform essential home care procedures as well, including techniques for proper brushing and flossing.
Will it hurt?
As this is a concern for most people, let us say right upfront that many of our surgical procedures involve little to no pain. It’s our mission to service you in the best manner possible, and we want to keep you as comfortable as possible.
Depending on your individual situation, here are a few surgeries which may be suggested:
If deep pockets aren’t likely to be reduced with Scaling and Root planing (deep cleaning), then Flap Surgery may be an option. In this type of surgery, the gum is separated in order to get to the underlying infection. Tartar deposits are removed from the deep pockets in order to make it easier for you (and your dentist) to keep it clean. The tissue is then reattached so it fits more snugly around the tooth again.
Osseous surgery is performed during flap surgery in order to reach the damaged bone, Osseous (or bone) surgery smoothes shallow craters in the bone due to mild or moderate bone loss. The affected bone is reshaped around the tooth in order to deter bacteria from collecting and growing in those spots.
Laser Periodontal Therapy (LANAP)
LANAP is a laser-based approach to treating gum disease using a PerioLase Nd:YAG free-running pulsed laser.
When you're diagnosed with periodontal disease, LANAP (an FDA-patented protocol) offers you a treatment option that is more comfortable, more cosmetic and less invasive, with results that are comparable to traditional periodontal surgical techniques.
The advantage of utilizing the PerioLase laser for your periodontal treatment is the elimination of incisions or suturing required by customary periodontal surgery. To the patient, this potentially means less pain, less bleeding, less swelling, less recession, less hypersensitivity and a reduction in recovery time. This is possible as the laser removes only disease tissue and spares healthy gum tissue, helping reduce post-operative concerns.
Upon thorough examination and resulting diagnosis, we can help you determine if the procedure is an option for you.
Soft Tissue Grafting
There are cases where additional tissue is necessary to reinforce thin or receding gums. When too much of the root is exposed by receding gums, extreme cold/heat sensitivity can occur. Grafting may be recommended in order to protect the root surfaces of teeth or to help increase the stability of the tooth. Esthetics can also be a reason to perform a Soft Tissue Graft, especially after orthodontic work has been completed.
Grafting is a way to replace or encourage new growth of bone destroyed by periodontitis. Consider this: Getting back even half the lost bone extends the life of the tooth. A graft consists of your own tissue or bone, synthetic material or bone from a tissue bank.
Our patients are typically pleased with the outcome, and can quickly resume normal activity after this surgery.
This type of surgery is used for a few different reasons. It could be cosmetic to remove an overgrowth of gum tissue which causes a “gummy” smile. It also can make the teeth easier to keep clean, as well as improve the overall appearance of your smile.
There are also cases of functional lengthening where gum and bone is removed to expose enough tooth to anchor a new crown. This also helps prevent future damage to gum and bone next to the restoration.
We often see teens as well as adults who – after receiving orthodontic care – need a little help with their gums in order to have a uniform smile.
It can be embarrassing to have spaces in your mouth where teeth are missing. When a patient has lost a tooth (or teeth) due to periodontal disease, injury or some other reason, dental implants may be a great option. They’re designed to provide a foundation for replacement of teeth which look, feel and function like natural teeth. Often, they feel more natural than dentures or other dental restorations.
During the implant process, an artificial tooth root is fused with your jawbone. This provides a secure foundation for an artificial tooth, which blends in nicely with your own teeth.
A dental examination is necessary in order to learn if you’re a good candidate for dental implants. The health and structure of your mouth are key factors in the final decision.
Tooth Uncovering for Orthodontic Treatment
This procedure is done to expose a presently impacted (unerupted) tooth to allow bracket placement during orthodontics. For this surgery local anesthetic is given. The unerupted tooth located either on the lip side or palate side is exposed by slightly lifting the gum tissue. Sometimes a slight amount of bone reduction is required. A bracket with small chain attachment is then attached to the tooth through a bonding procedure. Sutures may or may not be placed. A follow-up appointment is required. Later after a period of healing, the orthodontist will activate the bracket/chain combination and proceed with positioning of the impacted tooth to its proposed position.
Nitrous Oxide ("Laughing Gas")
Nitrous Oxide is inhaled by the patient through a rubber nosepiece and helps patients to feel relaxed. It is one of the most common forms of sedation used in the dental office. The effects wear off quickly after the gas is turned off. This is the only form of sedation where patients can drive home after the procedure.
Intravenous Sedation is a form of pain and anxiety control that involves injecting a sedative into the vein of a patient's hand or arm. This approach is used for anxiety control and lengthy procedures. With IV sedation, the patient is awake but very relaxed and usually does not remember the procedure. The sedation patient must have an escort for the appointment and post-surgical supervision at home. A registered nurse is on hand during the procedure.