Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.

Under the topic of “Periodontal Disease,” view the video, “Pocket Formation with Calculus,” to get an idea of how periodontal disease progresses and how it can result in tooth loss.

Diagnosis and Exam

Part of the periodontal exam includes periodontal probing. The sulcus or space between the gum and the tooth normally has a depth of 1 to 2 millimeters, but in patients with early stages of periodontal disease, it has a depth of 3 to 5 millimeters. Moderate stage periodontal disease has pocket depths of 6-7 mm. Advanced periodontal disease pocket depths exceed 7 mm in depth. By measuring the depth of the sulcus with a periodontal probe, periodontists can make a good assessment of the progress of the disease.

Under the topic of “Periodontal Disease,” view the video, “Pocket Recording Around Teeth.”

Non-Surgical Treatments

It is the viewpoint of our practice that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical periodontal treatment, including scaling and root planing (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), followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials and host modulation, as needed on a case-by-case basis.Non-surgical therapy does have its limitations, however, and when it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal anatomy damaged by periodontal diseases and to facilitate oral hygiene practices.

Under the topic of “Periodontal Disease,” view the video, “Professional Tooth Cleaning.”

Periodontal Surgery

If you’re diagnosed with periodontal disease, your periodontist may recommend periodontal surgery. Periodontal surgery is necessary when your periodontist determines that the tissue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-surgical treatment. Following are the two types of surgical treatments most commonly prescribed. The goal of each of these procedures is to reduce the pocket depth and to make all areas accessible to oral hygiene measures.

Pocket Reduction Procedures

Under the topic of “Periodontal Disease,” view the video, “Bone Surgery for Pocket Correction.”

Regenerative Procedure

Under the topic of “Periodontal Disease,” view the video, “Bone Regeneration Around Teeth 2.”

Plastic Surgery Procedures

Receding Gums

Exposed tooth roots are the result of gum recession. If allowed to continue, this recession can result in tooth loss. Perhaps you wish to enhance our smile by covering one or more of these roots that make your teeth appear too long or maybe you’re not bothered by the appearance of these areas, but you cringe because the exposed roots are sensitive to hot or cold foods and liquids.

Your gums may have receded for a variety of reasons, including aggressive tooth brushing or periodontal disease. You may not be in control of what caused the recession, but prior to treatment Dr. Davis will help you identify the factors contributing to the problem. Once these contributing factors are controlled, a soft tissue graft procedure will repair the defect and help to prevent additional recession and bone loss.

During this procedure, gum tissue is taken from your palate or another donor source to cover the exposed root. This can be done for one tooth or several teeth to even your gum line and reduce sensitivity.

A soft tissue graft can prevent further recession and bone loss. In some cases it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay; this may reduce tooth sensitivity and improve esthetics of your smile. A beautiful new smile and improved periodontal health – your keys to smiling, eating and speaking with comfort and confidence.

Under the topic of “Periodontal Disease,” view the video, “Recession Correction Gum Graft.” This video demonstrates the connective tissue graft procedure to increase the zone of healthy tissue and to gain root coverage.

Before Root Coverage

Root Coverage Before

After Root Coverage

Root Coverage After

Cosmetic Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is a procedure to remove excess gum tissue, exposing more of the “crown” of the tooth. This procedure is for patients who feel their teeth are too short or their gum line is uneven. The gum line is then sculpted to create the right proportion between gum tissue and tooth surface. This can be done to just one tooth, or to enhance your entire smile.

Before Cosmetic Crown Lengthening:

Cosmetic Crown Before

After Cosmetic Crown Lengthening:

Cosmetic Crown After

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