We provide a number of treatments for periodontal disease, in addition to placing implants. The goal of our periodontal office is to try to preserve your natural teeth. There are a number of treatment modalities the doctor utilizes to repair, rebuild and/or strengthen the gums and bone that support your teeth or to replace teeth that are lost.
These treamtents include:
- Implants (to replace missing teeth)
- Periodontal (gum) pocket reduction surgery
- Soft and hard tissue (gum and bone) regenerative procedures
- Crown lengthening
- Non-surgical periodontal cleaning (scaling, root planing, deep cleaning)
- Oral home care instruction
Periodontal Pocket Reduction Surgery
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming “pockets” around the teeth.
Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.
The doctor has measured the depth of your pocket(s). A periodontal pocket reduction procedure has been recommended because you have pockets that are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine.
During this procedure, the doctor folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.
Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence. Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your hygienist to clean, so it’s important for you to reduce them. Reduced pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decrease the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.
Periodontal Regenerative Procedures
Procedures that regenerate lost bone and tissue supporting your teeth can reverse some of the damage caused by periodontal disease.
The doctor may recommend a regenerative procedure when the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed due to periodontal disease. These procedures can reverse some of the damage by regenerating lost bone and tissue.
During this procedure, the doctor folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria. Membranes (filters), bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage your body’s natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue.
Eliminating existing bacteria and regenerating bone and tissue helps to reduce pocket depth and repair damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease. With a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care, you’ll increase the chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decrease the chances of other health problems associated with periodontal disease.
You may have asked the doctor about procedures to improve a “gummy” smile because your teeth appear short. Your teeth may actually be the proper lengths, but they’re covered with too much gum tissue. To correct this, the doctor performs a dental crown lengthening procedure.
During the dental crown lengthening procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even your gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile.
Your dentist or Dr. Rhee may also recommend dental crown lengthening to make a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure possible. Perhaps your tooth is decayed, broken below the gum line, or has insufficient tooth structure for a restoration, such as a crown or bridge. Crown lengthening adjusts the gum and bone level to expose more of the tooth so it can be restored.
Non-surgical Periodontal Cleaning
First and foremost, the doctor feels that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical periodontal treatment.
Non-surgical periodontal treatment does have its limitations. When it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal health.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing, also referred to as “deep cleaning”, is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins. Scaling and root planing is often followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials as needed on a case-by-case basis.
After scaling and root planing, many patients do not require any further active treatment. There is no guarantee that this will be the case in all instances, and further treatment may be needed. In addition, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy and periodontal monitoring to sustain health.
Oral Home Care Instruction
No matter what periodontal procedures we perform, there is no “cure” for periodontal disease. In order to maintain good oral health, thereby preserving your teeth and to maintain a healthy body, requires a “team” approach. The most important member of that “team” is YOU!
The doctor, his assistant, and the hygienist will help you maintain your oral health by showing you the most effective way to clean your teeth and gums. For most people all that may be required is brushing 2-3 times per day, effectively, and flossing daily, effectively. Further, brushing your tongue daily can make a significant difference in your oral health.