Some patients experience gum issues. Their gums recede and expose roots or become swollen, loose, and form gaps between the gums and teeth. These gaps are called pockets. Gum disease treatments are then used to return the gums to a healthy, firm state. If there has been further damage to the jawbone a number of procedures can help there too.
You may have heard the term “periodontics;” this refers to the type of dentistry that is concerned with the supporting structures of the teeth, including the jawbone, gums and fibers that connect the teeth to the gums and jawbone. The most basic treatment for these areas is a regular dental cleaning. This is usually done every 6 months to remove buildup of soft material (plaque) and hard material (tartar, sometimes called calculus). When gum disease is found, Dr. Grody determines the best treatment to fix the issue.
Gum Disease Treatments Dr. Grody Performs
Also called root planing and curettage, deep cleaning is an under-the-gum cleaning. It is usually done in several visits, using anesthetic, to remove unwanted deposits of hard tartar as well as unhealthy gum tissue. Patients should then come in for more-frequent cleanings, perhaps every 3 or 4 months, following this treatment. The goal is to turn red, puffy, bleeding gums into firm, pink, healthy gums that won’t get worse over time.
Placement of Localized Medications
This is used to improve a specific area of unhealthy gums with a deep gum pocket. Dr. Grody starts by administering an anesthetic, then the gum area is cleaned and a slowly absorbing medication is placed under the gum. The medication absorbs over time killing the germs that cause the gums to be detached from the tooth. The idea is to get the gums to reattach to the tooth and shrink the gum pocket around the tooth.
A patient’s gum can become overgrown and cause a cuff to form that creates a gum pocket around a tooth. If the jawbone under the gum area is healthy, the overgrown gum can simply be cut away. This is called a gingivectomy. This can prevent the gum pocket from getting worse.
This is done to eliminate gum pockets and to improve the condition of the jawbone.
Unhealthy gum tissue is removed and the jawbone is cleaned and reshaped. The gum is stitched back and heals firmly over the jawbone.
Guided Bone Regeneration
This is done to replace jawbone which has been lost. In certain situations bone can be made to regrow. Generally there needs to be healthy surrounding bone. The gum is opened and the unhealthy bone is cleaned and prepared. Then bone particles are placed in the area to fill in where Dr. Grody wants to regrow the jawbone. An absorbable collagen cover is secured over the graft and the gum is sutured back around the teeth. Over time, new bone forms to fill in the area.
Teeth that have their roots exposed by receding gums can be covered with new gum tissue. This is done by taking gum from the roof of the mouth and covering the exposed area with a graft. The benefit is that the patient’s own tissue has the best chance to take. And there is a cost savings since the tissue comes from the patient. The drawback is that the roof of the mouth, where the tissue comes from, is uncomfortable and there are risks to taking the tissue out. Nowadays tissue banks are providing freeze dried skin from donors to be used to cover roots so we don’t have to take the tissue from the patient’s mouth. This tissue is screened and processed to keep only the desired tissue for grafting.
In addition, bioengineering has provided chemical substances, such as growth factors, that help the graft succeed.
Dr. Grody will refer patients for the following treatments:
Laser Pocket Reduction
Reducing the gum pocket can be done by using a laser that is shot into the pocket around the tooth. A thin fiber is inserted and worked around in the gum pocket to kill the germs that cause the gum to detach from the teeth.
To make an appointment with Dr. Grody, call our Augusta dental office at (207) 622-0450. For over 30 year, patients have relied on Dr. Grody for their dental needs. He has experience in gum disease treatments and can help you get back your attractive smile.