Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. The two stages of gum disease are called gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is mild gum disease that affects only the gums, the tissue that surrounds the teeth. Periodontitis is gum disease that gets worse and spreads below the gums to damage the tissues and bone that support the teeth. When you have periodontal disease, the supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming "pockets" around the teeth.
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the form of a sticky, colorless plaque that constantly forms on your teeth. Over time, the pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to thrive, and advance under the gum tissue, resulting in bone and tissue loss.
The initial treatment for periodontal disease is a thorough cleaning of plaque and tartar build up both above and below the gum line, a treatment called periodontal scaling and root planning. As result of this treatment, new gum tissue will be allowed to heal on the cleaned tooth root surface. When the pockets are too deep to clean with daily at home oral hygiene and at office professional care, periodontal surgery may follow the initial treatment. During the periodontal surgery procedure, the gum tissue is folded back in order to reduce the diseased gum tissue and to smoothen the irregular surfaces of damaged bone, thereby reducing periodontal pockets. Sometimes, previously lost tissue can be regenerated by utilizing bone grafting materials. The severity and extent of the disease along with many other factors determine the success of regeneration. Dr. Endy will evaluate and assess if regeneration is possible.
Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean. Reduced pockets and a combination of good daily oral hygiene and professional care increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth.
Functional Crown Lengthening
Crown lengthening is a procedure that recontours the gum tissue and often the underlying bone surrounding the tooth so that an adequate amount of healthy tooth is exposed. This procedure is used as part of a treatment plan for a tooth that is to be fitted with a crown. This procedures provides the General Dentist the necessary space between the supporting bone and crown, preventing the new crow from damaging gum tissue.
Esthetic Crown Lengthening
When the teeth are covered with too much gum tissue, it can give a gummy smile with appearance of short looking teeth. This condition can be addressed by performing esthetic crown lengthening (periodontal plastic surgery) in order to improve the esthetics of your smile. Sometimes, this can be achieved by Gingivectomy procedure. Dr. Endy will assess and determine which procedure is more appropriate for your condition.
Soft Tissue (Gum) Grafts
When gum lines recede, tooth roots become exposed, which can make your teeth appear long and create sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks. Your gums may have receded for a variety of reasons, including aggressive tooth brushing or periodontal disease. You may not be in aware of what caused the recession, but prior to treatment, your periodontist will help you to identify the factors contributing to the problem. Once these contributing factors are controlled, a soft tissue graft procedure will repair the soft tissue defect and help to prevent additional recession.
Soft tissue grafts can be used to cover exposed root surfaces or to develop gum tissue which is absent. You can choose to have you own gum tissue taken from your palate or another donor source for the soft tissue (gum) grafting. A soft tissue (gum) graft can reduce further recession, reduce sensitivity, protect root surfaces from decay, and improve esthetics of your smile.