If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, there are a variety of treatment options, depending upon the severity of the bone loss around your teeth. The most conservative approach in each case will be the procedure necessary to help you keep your teeth for the longest period of time with the best predictability.
If periodontal disease is diagnosed early, nonsurgical therapy may be the only treatment necessary. This involves the removal of plaque and calculus, which controls the growth of bacteria and treating the conditions that encourage gum disease.
Scaling is a type of cleaning that removes plaque and calculus from the teeth, at and slightly below the gumline. Root planing is a procedure to smooth the surfaces of the tooth roots, so the gum tissue can heal and reattach to the tooth surface.
Surgical Treatment Options
As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets that form between the teeth and gums become deeper and the bacteria that develops around the teeth accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. The result is damage to the supporting tissues and loss of bone.
A gingivectomy is necessary when the gums have pulled away from the teeth, creating deep pockets, and it is usually performed before gum disease has damaged the bone supporting the teeth. The procedure involves removing and reshaping loose, diseased gum tissue to eliminate the pockets between the teeth and gums. After removing the gum tissue, a puttylike substance is placed over your gum line to protect the gums while they heal.
Pocket Reduction Surgery
To prevent further damage to the bone and gum tissues caused by the progression of the disease and infection, it is necessary to reduce the pocket depth and eliminate the existing bacteria. This will also make it easier for you to keep the area clean.
The procedure to reduce the pockets involves folding back the gum tissue and removing the bacteria that causes the disease, then securing the gum tissue snugly around the teeth.
It may also be necessary to smooth irregular surfaces of the damaged bone and reshape it. This makes it more difficult for bacteria to accumulate and grow, and increases the chance of saving teeth that otherwise would have been lost.
Regenerative procedures are recommended when the bone supporting the teeth has been destroyed. These procedures can actually reverse some of the damage by regenerating lost bone and tissue.
Bone Grafts involve placing tiny fragments of bone in areas of lost bone. These grafts stimulate new bone growth, or regeneration, and restore stability to the teeth by filling in the craters that resulted from periodontal disease.
Guided Tissue Regeneration involves inserting membranes (filters) between the teeth and gums to allow the ligaments to re-grow and bone to reform so that the teeth are better supported.
When teeth are lost or removed, the supporting bone begins to resorb, or deteriorate. This results in a defect, or indentation in the gums and bone. This can be corrected with ridge augmentation to fill in the defect to recapture the natural contour of the gums and jawbone.
Leslie I. Davis, BDS, DDS, PC
13802 W Camino del Sol Suite 103
Sun City West, AZ 85375-4486
Phone: (623) 584-0664
Fax: (623) 584-1728