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. We are excited in our office to be able to offer the latest in Laser Periodontal Therapy which provides, in most cases, less trauma , faster recovery, and often more ideal results than the old traditional scalpel periodontal surgery. With modern laser technology, Periodontal Surgery Treatment no longer has to be associated with discomfort and negative stigma it has earned in the past. Less invasive dentistry is always the primary goal in our office.
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.
Chemotherapeutic Irrigation This is the direct delivery of an antibacterial or antimicrobial solution into an infected area. This procedure is often done in conjunction with scaling and root planing.
Direct Delivery of Antibiotics This is the placement of antibiotic or antimicrobial fibers, chips, or gels into an infected area or areas. Unlike irrigation, these antibiotic containing vehicles remain in the infected site for several days exerting their effect.
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.
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.
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.
This is an ideal time to harness the magnificent properties of Laser Dentistry to reduce the pocket damage and regenerate new bone and periodontal attachments, thus accomplishing true pocket reduction without all the ususal trauma and discomfort of scalpel flap surgery. In most cases, modern Laser Dentistry entails no cutting, no sutures...This is non-invasive dentistry at its best.
Let Dr. DiPaula and his staff explain how these less invasive tratments can truly benefit you.
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 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. Although many pocket reduction of bone and tissue attachment can be regenerated with Laser Therapy, in severe cases, bone grafting procedures may be suggested. Let us evaluate the best options for you while keeping the less invasive philosophy as a goal.
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, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is sewed to the gum area, covering the roots and restoring the gum line to its original, healthy location. This procedure can also be performed for cosmetic reasons. Again, the laser can be used to sterilize and accelerate healing.
Bone Grafting/Tissue Regeneration This surgical procedure replaces bone that has been lost as a result of advancing gum disease or dental ridge preservation at time of extraction so proper dental replacement can be accomplished. Various types of bone grafting materials are used from synthetically derived bone to collagen-type materials to the patient's own bone. Often a "membrane" of some type is used to help contain the graft within the prepared bone site and help the graft to heal properly. Good ridge preservation and integrity is essential to attain a functionally good prosthetic result, whether it be implant , fixed or removable.
Gum Grafting A surgical procedure designed to add protective gum around the root of a tooth. Protective gum is often lost as a result of recession of the gum or trauma. Most often, the protective gum used for the graft is taken from another area of the patient's own mouth where the protective-type gum is abundant. Once the graft heals, the area will continually maintain the new protective gum. Gum grafts are very predictable and usually need to be done only once.
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. Using the Laser limits the need for aggressive scalpel surgery and stitches and promotes faster healing and much less discomfort.
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. This procedure is done in our less invasive dentistry office with Laser and usually done with no scalpel , stitches, nor needle anesthetic., only use topical anesthetic in most cases. The recovery is fast and usually uneventful.
If you are considering aggressive scalpel surgery to correct a periodontal problem, feel free to contact us and see if there is a chance you could be a candidate to be treated in less invasive , less stressful treatment approach.