If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, we have a treatment option to suit your specific situation. We always start with the least invasive, non-surgical options. However, in serious cases, surgery may be necessary.
The first line of defense against gum disease is a unique type of cleaning called scaling and root planing. This procedure uses an ultrasonic cleaning device to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth where regular cleaning implements can’t reach — under the gum line and around the root. Then, the rough surface of the tooth and the root are smoothed out (planed). This provides a healthy, clean surface that makes it harder for bacteria to stick to the tooth and easier for the gum tissue to reattach.
If you address your gum disease before it becomes severe, scaling and root planing may be the only treatment you need. However, as with any dental procedure, after-care is vital. To keep your teeth in good shape and prevent future occurrences of gum disease, you must brush and floss daily, eat a healthy diet, stop using tobacco products of any kind, and have regular dental checkups. Even after a successful scaling and root planing, if you don’t attend to your teeth properly, it’s likely that you’ll develop gum disease again.
Surgical Treatment Options
If the tissue or bone surrounding your teeth is too damaged to be repaired with non-surgical treatment, we will recommend a surgical procedure to restore your healthy smile, such as:
Pocket Depth Reduction
In a healthy mouth, the teeth are surrounded by firm gum tissue and securely supported by the jawbone. Periodontal disease damages these tissues and bones, leaving open spaces around the teeth called pockets. The larger these pockets become, the easier it is for bacteria to collect inside them, leading to more damage over time. Eventually, the supportive structure degrades to the point that the tooth either falls out or needs to be removed.
During a pocket reduction procedure (also called flap surgery), we fold back the gum tissue and remove the bacteria hiding underneath, as well as the hardened plaque and tartar that have collected. We will also remove any tissue that is too damaged to survive. We then sew the healthy tissue back into place. Now that the tooth and root are free of bacteria, plaque, and tartar, and the pockets have been reduced, the gums can reattach to the teeth.
When the bone and tissue supporting the teeth have been lost due to severe gum disease, we can restore these areas with a regeneration procedure. During this process, we begin by folding back the gum tissue and removing the bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Depending on your situation, we may then perform a bone graft to stimulate new bone growth, or we may apply a special kind of protein that stimulates tissue growth to repair the areas that have been damaged.
A frequent symptom of periodontal disease is receding gums. As the gums recede, more of the tooth roots are revealed, which makes teeth appear longer and can also create sensitivity to hot or cold liquids or food. It also exposes the tooth to increased damage, as bacteria, plaque, and tartar attack the surface of the tooth and the root. During a soft tissue graft, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is sewed onto the gum area, covering the roots and restoring the gum line to its original, healthy location. This procedure can also be performed for cosmetic reasons.