If you've been diagnosed with gum disease, there are a variety of treatment options depending on the particulars of your situation and the severity of the problem. We always start with the least invasive options, which are non-surgical. 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”. In this procedure, an ultrasonic cleaning device is used to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth where regular cleaning devices can't reach: under the gum line on the tooth and the root. 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.
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, after-care 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.
Some non-surgical periodontal treatment services we offer are:
- Scaling and Root Planing This is the removal of hard and soft deposits from the teeth and roots of teeth. This includes bacterial plaque (germs) and the toxins they produce and the mineralized form of plaque called calculus (tartar). It is these deposits that cause irritation and infection of the gums and bone loss around the teeth. Scaling and root planing is a very technique-sensitive procedure that uses a combination of sonic, ultrasonic, and hand instruments.
- Supportive Periodontal Maintenance Once your gums have been brought back to health it is imperative that a maintenance schedule be designed to fit your needs. Typically your teeth will be cleaned, scaled, and polished every three months. Three-month intervals help keep the plaque levels around the gums minimal and thus significantly reduce your risk of re-infection. Maintenance is the key to successful treatment.
- Laser Assisted Supportive Therapy A breakthrough in maintaining your periodontal health. Gum disease tends to reoccur if patients miss cleaning appointments or under high stress. This usually occurs in isolated sites. During your cleaning appointment, we will treat these isolated sites with laser therapy. We apply a topical anesthetic (no shots) and remove the infection with a laser. This will cause a “pocket” to zip up 1 to 2 mm and reverse the breakdown.
Surgical Treatment Options
If the tissue or bone surrounding your teeth is too damaged to be repaired with non-surgical 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.
Laser New Attachment Ideal for early to moderate periodontal disease. A laser is used to remove the infection in a minimally invasive procedure. The gum tissue reattaches to the teeth, closing the gap between the tooth and gum created by the infection.
- Regeneration When the bone and tissue supporting the teeth has been lost due to severe gum disease, we can restore these areas with a regeneration procedure. During this process, we begin by removing the infection with a minimally invasive laser procedure. Then, I add growth factors – proteins that stimulate the bone to regrow.
- Soft-Tissue Graft 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, a plastic surgery procedure to cover the exposed root is performed. Many times Dr. Dyer will use growth factors to repair the recession.
- Root Coverage Procedures These types of gum grafts are designed to cover the roots of teeth that have been exposed due to recession or trauma. These procedures are often done as cosmetic procedures in areas of aesthetic concern.
- Crown Lengthening This surgical procedure is designed to assist your restorative dentist in getting a restoration (cap or filling) to properly fit your tooth. When decay or tooth fracture goes beneath the gum line, your dentist may require that more tooth structure be exposed surgically so that he or she may properly restore the tooth.
- Cosmetic Gum Sculpting This procedure is generally done for cosmetic purposes to eliminate a “gummy smile” and to even out the gum line prior to cosmetic dentistry.