Surgical and Nonsurgical Options
If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, there are a variety of treatment options depending on the particulars of your situation, especially the severity of the problem. We always start with the least invasive options, which are nonsurgical. However, in more serious cases, surgery may be necessary.
The first line of defense against the presence of gum disease is a unique type of cleaning called “scaling and root planing.” Then the rough surface of the tooth and the root are smoothed out (planed). This provides a healthy, clean surface that makes it easier for the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth.
We can also use technology called a perioscope which features a miniature video camera that enables the clinician to see magnified detail of teeth roots to treat deep pocketing in a minimally invasive way without surgery.
If you address your gum disease before it becomes severe, scaling and root planing may be the only treatment you need. However, as with any dental procedure, aftercare is vital. In order to keep your teeth in good shape, and resist future occurrences of gum disease, you must brush and floss daily, eat a healthy diet, avoid tobacco use, and have regular dental checkups. Even after a successful scaling and root planing, if you don’t attend to your teeth properly, it’s quite likely that you’ll develop gum disease again.
Surgical Treatment Options
If the tissue or bone surrounding your teeth is too damaged to be repaired with nonsurgical treatment, several surgical procedures are available to prevent severe damage and restore a healthy smile. We will recommend the procedure that is best suited to the condition of your teeth and gums. Following is a list of common types of periodontal surgery.
Pocket Depth Reduction
In a healthy mouth, the teeth are firmly surrounded by gum tissue and securely supported by the bones of the jaw. Periodontal disease damages these tissues and bones, leaving open spaces around the teeth that we call pockets. The larger these pockets are, the easier it is for bacteria to collect inside them, leading to more and more damage over time. Eventually the supportive structure degrades to the point that the tooth either falls out or needs to be removed.
During pocket reduction procedures (also known as “flap surgery”), we fold back the gum tissue and remove the bacteria hiding underneath, as well as the hardened plaque and tartar that have collected. We may also remove any tissue that is too damaged to survive. We then sew the healthy tissue back into place. Now that the tooth and root are free of bacteria, plaque and tartar, and the pockets have been reduced, the gums can reattach to the teeth.
When the bone and tissue supporting the teeth have been lost due to severe gum disease, we can restore these areas with a regeneration procedure. During this process, we begin by folding back the gum tissue and removing the bacteria, plaque and tartar. Depending on your situation, we may then perform a bone graft to stimulate new bone growth, or we may place a special kind of protein that stimulates tissue growth, to repair the areas that have been destroyed by the disease.
A frequent symptom of gum disease is gum recession (also called gingival recession). As the gums recede, more of the roots are revealed. This can make teeth appear longer and can also create sensitivity to hot or cold liquids or food. It also exposes the tooth to increased damage from gum disease, as bacteria, plaque and tartar attack the surface of the tooth and the root.
During a soft-tissue graft, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is sewed to the gum area, covering the roots and restoring the gumline to its original, healthy location. This procedure can also be performed for cosmetic reasons.
Humans are living longer than ever, and while regular brushing, flossing, and checkups allow many of us to maintain our natural smiles for a lifetime, sometimes our teeth just can’t keep up. If you’ve lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants can rejuvenate both your smile and your oral health.
An implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. The “root” is usually made of titanium (the same material used in many replacement hips and knees), a metal that is well suited to pairing with human bone. A replacement tooth is then fixed to the post. The tooth can be either permanently attached or removable. Permanent teeth are more stable and feel more like natural teeth.
The ideal candidate for implants has good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease.
Single or Multiple Implants
Implants are versatile. If you are only missing one tooth, one implant plus one replacement tooth will do the trick. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a few strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth). Similarly, if you have lost all of your teeth, a full bridge or full denture can be permanently fixed in your mouth with a strategic number of implants.
Advantages Over Dentures or Bridges
Conventional bridges and dentures are not fixed to the bone, and can therefore be unstable. This can make it difficult to eat or smile with confidence. Implants not only look more natural, but feel and act more like normal teeth, with a stronger biting force. And because they don’t rely on neighboring teeth for support, implants don’t compromise the health of your natural teeth. In fact, bridges are only expected to last 7-10 years, implants will typically function significantly longer.
Consider your replacement teeth to be the same as natural teeth. They require the same daily brushing and flossing, and the same amount of regular checkups. Just like your natural teeth, the better you take care of your replacements, the longer they will last.
Ready to get started?
Give us a call to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online. Our office is located in Wethersfield, CT, just outside of Hartford. We look forward to serving you!
When we think of cosmetic surgery, we tend to focus on the cheeks, eyes, and nose. But there are some appearance enhancements that a cosmetic surgeon can’t make – those having to do with your teeth. As more people look to improve their appearance through surgery, cosmetic dentistry and periodontology are experiencing a rise in popularity. In fact, a poll conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology found that smile enhancement procedures outnumbered eyelid surgeries five to one.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry cites a recent study in which participants were shown photos of people before and after smile-enhancing treatment. The people with improved smiles were rated not just as more attractive, but also more popular, sensitive, successful and friendly.
If you’re interested in improving your smile, we can help in a variety of areas. We are conveniently located in Wethersfield, CT.
Gummy or Crooked Smile
If you have too much gum showing when you smile, causing your teeth to look short, we call this a gummy smile. If your gumline is uneven, causing some teeth to look shorter than others, we call this a crooked smile. Both situations are easily remedied with a procedure referred to as a gum lift or crown lengthening. During this procedure, we remove excess gum tissue and reshape the contour of your gums to lengthen the crowns of your teeth and provide a natural-looking gumline.
Gum recession can be caused by gum disease, vigorous brushing, grinding or clenching, or simply age and genetics. Regardless of the cause, as gums recede they expose the roots of the tooth, creating the appearance of longer teeth. Exposed roots also increase vulnerability to root decay and sensitivity to hot and cold liquids and foods. The solution to this situation is a soft-tissue graft, also known as a gum graft. During this procedure, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is transplanted to the gum area, covering the roots and restoring the gumline to its original, healthy location. A soft-tissue graft protects your roots from decay and helps prevent additional gum recession.
Aside from creating distracting gaps in your smile, missing teeth can cause problems with your oral health. To restore your smile to fullness and health, we use implants. An implant is a replacement tooth attached to a synthetic root that is surgically placed into the jawbone. Permanent implants, which look and feel like natural teeth, can last a lifetime if cared for properly. Find out more about implants.
When a tooth falls out or is removed, an indentation can appear in the gums and jawbone just above the spot where the tooth used to be. This occurs because the jawbone pulls back in response to the empty space. In combination with replacing your missing tooth, we can provide ridge augmentation, a procedure in which we smooth out the indentation to recreate the original curvature of your gums and jaw. This procedure generally includes bone grafting to restore the missing bone, and in some cases must be performed prior to the placement of implants, to ensure that sufficient bone is available to securely retain the implant.
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