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Many people shy away from talking about periodontic trouble, and it’s no wonder. Gum disease is a frightening thought, and no one wants to think about the trouble it leads to, especially tooth loss. But if you have trouble with your gums, you need to think about it, and what’s more, you need to know that your dentist can help you with the procedures and care that you need.
Gum disease is a common problem with a wide range of possible issues. Gum disease is characterized by infection in the gums, caused by bacteria in untreated tartar. In its minor form, the inflammation caused by the tartar is known as gingivitis, but in its more severe form, gum disease can severely impact your health and wellness, not to mention leading to pain, discomfort, and eventual tooth loss.
At Canamera Dentistry, we provide both major and minor periodontic services:
Scaling, the removal of plaque and tartar, is something the hygienist does for your teeth at every check-up. Periodontic scaling and root planing is the same procedure performed on a deeper level, to below the gumline and even down to the roots of the teeth if necessary. Scaling and root planing removes the bacteria-laden tartar, and any diseased tissue, in order to make it possible for gums to heal.
Sometimes a tooth will fall victim to gum disease, and removing it is the best option in order to preserve the surrounding tissues and teeth. When this happens, we will extract the tooth for the good of your periodontic health.
When teeth fall out or are extracted, it leaves an open space in the jaw, in a bone called the alveolar ridge. Over time, that empty socket can cause the ridge bone to collapse in on itself, causing sunken cheeks and changes to appearance as well as threatening the placement of other teeth. With ridge/socket preservation, dental materials are used to fill in the socket, so that the ridge is held up and collapse does not occur. Not only does this benefit your appearance, but it also makes it possible for tooth replacement down the line.
If sunken areas in the gum have already occurred, we can insert material under the gum to build up the ridge and make it possible to proceed with a bridge or other tooth replacement option.
Your sinus cavities lie behind your cheeks and on top of your upper teeth. Sinus passages are referred to as cavities for good reason: they are empty pockets, filled with air. Some of the roots of upper teeth can extend into the sinus areas, so when the upper teeth are lost or removed, all that is left between the sinuses and the mouth is a thin strip of bone. That bone is not deep or strong enough to hold dental implants, so sinus augmentation is used to shore up the thin bone and make it possible for implants. This is done using bone grafting or synthetic materials.
Bone grafts can repair areas of the mouth that have inadequate bone structure. This can be due to extractions, tooth loss, gum disease, and injury. When bone grafts are used to build up these areas of the jaw that are lacking, it improves appearance and makes it possible for the jaw to receive dental implants.
When gums recede, we begin to lose our natural defense against bacteria. The more gums recede, the easier it is for bacteria to penetrate and the infections of gum disease to wreak their havoc. When gums reach a certain point, they must be rebuilt in order to retain oral health. This is done by taking a thin piece of tissue, usually from the roof of the mouth, and attaching it to the receded portion in order to create a stable band of gum tissue. This is a reliable and commonly-performed practice that yields great results.
In a healthy mouth, the gum tissue fits snugly around the teeth. In a mouth that’s experiencing periodontal issues, the gum tissue begins to move away from the teeth as the tissues and bone are affected by the gum disease, leaving pockets around the teeth. This makes it even easier for harmful bacteria to enter the gum tissue. This can be remedied by pocket depth reduction, in which the dentist folds back the gum, removes the bacteria, and then secures the gum tissue back into place. Reduced pockets gives patients a greater chance of fighting gum disease and retaining their teeth.
Flap procedures are used to increase your body’s ability to heal itself from gum disease by opening up the diseased tissue (by means of a “flap”), removing the diseased inner tissue, and then closing the tissue flap. A flap procedure allows deep access to the tooth and tissues, helping the gums to fight the infection and generate healing.
A frenectomy is the removal of a “frenulum”, small bands of tissue that connects to the lip, floor of the mouth, or cheek. Frenectomies are used for people who have extra frenula attaching the tongue to the mouth (this used to be known as being “tongue-tied”), or other places in the mouth causing other problems. Frenula can attach the lip too closely to the top teeth, or cause gapping in the gum tissue by pulling the gums away from the teeth. In these cases, it is best to remove the frenulum in order to prevent periodontal issues. The procedure is straightforward and usually heals with no issues.
Crown lengthening is done when a greater amount of tooth surface needs to be exposed in order to support a filling or a crown, or when a tooth breaks off at the surface and must be rebuilt. The dentist removes gum tissue around the tooth in order to make more of the tooth visible. This procedure can also be used on people who have “gummy smiles” in order to reduce the excess gum tissue around the teeth.
Gum disease can be prevented by maintaining your oral hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly. However, if gum disease is already a battle you’re facing, then trust us with your care. We will provide you with the procedures and services to help you enjoy your oral health for a lifetime.