During your initial examination in our office the doctor will make a diagnosis and discuss your treatment needs. A range of treatment options may be available depending on your specific diagnosis. We recognize that no two patients are alike and we are proud to provide individualized care, which is tailored to your specific needs. The following information provides background on some of the treatment options that may be recommended.
Gum Disease Treatment
Scaling and root planing, often referred to as “deep cleaning”, is a procedure performed to smooth and clean the root surfaces by removing the plaque and calculus (also called tartar or hardened plaque) that has accumulated over time. Treatment is typically performed with a local anesthetic using special instruments below the gum tissues. Anywhere from one to four treatment visits are needed with a follow-up appointment to assess the results of therapy. Often times no other treatment is warranted other than ongoing Periodontal maintenance care.
Additional non-surgical treatment may be indicated and could include use of special antibiotics (Sustained Release Antimicrobials) placed under the gum tissue. If the disease cannot be controlled with non-surgical therapy, surgery will likely be recommended to eliminate the pockets and improve health.
Periodontal Surgery to Reduce Pockets
When non-surgical treatment cannot eliminate the disease, surgery may be recommended to help reduce the pockets that harbor harmful bacteria. During this procedure the gums are moved back so that your doctor can clean the roots and assess the bone. When the surgery is completed, the tissues are then positioned tightly against the tooth so that the pocket is eliminated. At times the bone loss caused by the bacteria create spaces or areas where periodontal regeneration can be performed to re-grow the bone supporting the teeth. (see “Periodontal Regeneration” below).
As periodontal disease progresses it destroys the bone that hold the teeth in place. If this continues, the teeth become loose and can fall out. Periodontal regeneration is performed to re-grow bone that has been lost as a result of periodontal disease. A variety of materials and techniques are used to achieve regeneration including the use of bone grafts, growth factors and special membranes. Through research, the field of periodontal regeneration is expanding and allowing patients to maintain their natural dentition. Dr. Robert G. Schallhorn, is one of the founding fathers of periodontal regeneration and developed many of the techniques that are used today.
Our office continues to be involved in clinical research evaluating cutting edge regenerative techniques. To find out if you may be a candidate for periodontal regeneration call the office for an appointment.
Even a subtle change in your smile helps you to project an image of self-confidence and high personal esteem. Procedures can be performed that enhance your smile by reshaping uneven gum lines, reducing a gummy smile or adding gum tissue when teeth appear too long. To find out if we can help you improve your smile, call the office and schedule an appointment with one of the doctors.
Gum Recession Treatment
Recession of the gum line is a frequent finding among adults. It happens as a result of a variety of causes including periodontal disease, genetics and trauma from overaggressive tooth brushing. Gum replacement grafts can be performed to cover the exposed roots reducing the gum recession, improving your smile as well as protecting the roots from decay.
Gum tissue grafting treatments before and after:
Esthetic Crown Lengthening (or Improving a Gummy Smile)
Some individuals have teeth that look very short or small. However, often times the teeth are of normal size but covered with excess gum tissue and bone. Esthetic crown lengthening is performed to improve the smile by removing and reshaping excess gum tissue (and possibly bone) to expose more of the natural tooth. Even small changes around your gums can result in noticeable improvement in your smile.
Cases showing gummy smile before treatment and after esthetic crown lengthening:
Gum graft surgery is performed to either cover exposed root surfaces (see gum recession treatment) or to replace missing gum tissue. While gum grafts are often taken from the palate (roof of the mouth), alternative gum grafts are available. The gum graft is used to replace the missing gum tissue and to cover exposed root surfaces when possible. Treatment can halt gum recession and often result in improved esthetics and comfort.
Functional Crown Lengthening
When a tooth has extensive decay or deep fillings, there may be insufficient tooth structure remaining above the gumline to place a crown (or cap) on the tooth. In such cases, your dentist may recommend a crown lengthening procedure. Treatment entails modification of the gum and bone to expose more tooth structure and allow placement of a healthy and functional crown.
Sedation (Sleep) Dentistry
Our office is committed to deliver treatment in a warm, caring, pain free environment. During your procedure we use topical and local anesthetics to completely numb the area being treated. In addition we offer a variety of options for additional relaxation. Nitrous Oxide or “laughing gas” provides relaxation during your appointment but allows you to drive yourself to and from the office. For patients needing a more relaxed state, oral premedication can be utilized. We also offer intravenous sedation, which creates a sleep like experience.
Periodontal Maintenance Therapy
Once treatment has been completed and the mouth has been returned to a state of health, it is critical to follow a regular program of periodontal maintenance. Periodontal disease, like many inflammatory diseases, is never cured but only controlled. These visits are different than routine cleaning appointments in that they are designed to assess and treat changes in the periodontal status on an ongoing basis.
Multiple studies have shown that in the absence of proper maintenance care, disease will recur and progress often times without symptoms. For many individuals, an interval of 3 months has found to be most effective. These visits may be performed alternately between our office and your general dentist depending on the individual case and type of treatment completed.