Periodontics is the field of dentistry that concerns the supporting structures of the mouth including gums and bones. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is very common and is caused by toxins in the plaque around the gums. As this condition progresses, gums retract from the teeth, creating spaces known as periodontal pockets, which contain large amounts of tartar, bacteria and plaque. Left untreated, periodontal disease leads to tooth loss.
At the office of Roman Shlafer, we are experienced in the treatment of gum disease, and we understand the need to treat quickly. We provide the following services to treat periodontal conditions and restore your teeth and gums to health.
When you are missing teeth, the option of dental implants is almost unbeatable. They look and function just like natural teeth. Unfortunately, if you have been missing teeth for some time, your jawbone may not be strong enough to support an implant, in which case a bone graft may be recommended. In this procedure, a special material will be grafted onto your jawbone. Over a period of time, the graft will create enough new, strong bone to support an implant. If you only need a minor graft, you may be able to receive your implant at the same time.
Gum Graft Surgery
When periodontal disease worsens, your gums pull away from the teeth, resulting in receding gums. This can expose the roots of the teeth, which can lead to a dangerous infection. Gum graft surgery consists of harvesting tissue from another part of the mouth to cover up these exposed roots. This prevents infection, and the natural appearance of the gums is restored.
In periodontal laser therapy, the dentist will use a special laser to access and remove inflamed gum tissue. The infected tissue is removed exposing the root, and then the root scaling begins. This process involves scraping off calculus and plaque that has built up below the gumline and around the root. The root is then smoothed out so it will not attract bacteria which can cause future infections. The area between the gum and the root will regenerate during the healing process. When using a laser, general anesthetic is not needed and bleeding, pain and swelling are limited. Lasers can target the diseased areas precisely and accurately, leading to shorter recovery and healing time.
Regenerative procedures are necessary when gum disease has already caused damage to the jawbone and the connective tissues. These treatments often involve folding back the gum tissue and removing any dangerous bacteria and toxins that are present. Artificial bone grafts and special proteins can be applied to the damaged jawbone to try to reverse damage.
Esthetic Crown Lengthening
Those who feel that they have a "gummy" smile can greatly benefit from esthetic crown lengthening. This relatively simple procedure usually takes about an hour to perform and is essentially a "gum lift". During the procedure, we remove your excess gum and bone tissue and reshape your smile to expose more of your natural tooth. While the procedure can be performed on just one tooth, it is most often done to your entire smile. The end result is that more of your natural tooth is exposed creating a wider, more beautiful smile.
Esthetic crown lengthening can also be done to preserve the health of your smile. Removing excess gum tissue can help control and prevent periodontal disease. Increasing the exposed surface area of your tooth will decrease the depth of pockets between your teeth where bacteria can grow and harm your teeth and gums.
Prior to the procedure, a local anesthetic will be administered to prevent pain and discomfort. Small incisions in the gum tissue will be needed to separate the gums from your teeth. In some cases, a small amount of bone will also need to be removed to create a natural smile. Once the procedure is completed, we will clean the incisions with sterile water and place sutures and a protective bandage over the area to encourage your teeth and newly contoured gums to re-attach to each other. A follow-up appointment will be needed one to two weeks after the procedure to evaluate your healing.
Functional Crown Lengthening
Sometimes functional crown lengthening will be needed in order to perform a cosmetic or restorative procedure. This may be the case if your tooth is too far decayed, broken below the gumline, or has insufficient structure for restoration like a crown or bridge. In cases like this, we may be required to lower the gum and bone levels to expose more of your root surface so it can be restored. However, simply trimming back the gum line is not sufficient. Instead, we will need to reshape the gums and supporting bone to allow for adequate room to place a high-quality restoration.
The procedure is similar to esthetic crown lengthening in that a local anesthetic will be administered. Small incisions are required to remove your gum tissue and reshape the area. When the procedure has been completed, we will place sutures that will need to be removed in one to two weeks. After the area has completely healed (6-8 weeks), the final restorative dentistry such as a crown or bridge can be placed.
Scaling and Root Planing
When plaque is not removed properly, it attracts bacteria and turns into difficult-to-remove calculus, or tartar. The bacteria spreads to your gums and causes them to pull away from the tooth, creating periodontal pockets. When periodontal disease is left untreated, it can spread to your bone and cause tooth loss. Scaling and root planing treatment may include a local anesthetic to numb the root of your tooth and instruments will be used to clean below the gum line. The goal of this deep cleaning process is to clear away tartar and smooth the surface of your tooth to encourage the gum to reattach. The scaling and root planing treatment is most effective in the early stages of gum disease and can reduce periodontal pocket depth up to two or three millimeters.
If you are suffering from gum disease and would like more information, please call us at (248) 781-0040 to schedule an appointment.