If you've been diagnosed with gum disease, there are a variety of treatment options depending on the details of your situation and the severity of the problem. We always start with the least invasive options, which are non-surgical. However, in more 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.” In this procedure, an ultrasonic cleaning device is used to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth where regular cleaning devices can't reach: under the gum line, on the tooth, 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 easier for the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth.
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. In order to keep your teeth in good shape and resist future occurrences of gum disease, you must brush and floss daily, eat a healthy diet, avoid tobacco use, and have regular dental checkups. Even after a successful scaling and root planing, if you don't attend to your teeth properly, it's quite 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, several surgical procedures are available to prevent severe damage and to restore a healthy smile. We will recommend the procedure that is best suited to the condition of your teeth and gums. Following is a list of common types of periodontal surgery:
Pocket Depth Reduction
In a healthy mouth, the teeth are firmly surrounded by gum tissue and securely supported by the bones of the jaw. Periodontal disease damages these tissues and bones, leaving open spaces around the teeth that we call pockets. The larger these pockets are, the easier it is for bacteria to collect inside them, leading to more and more damage over time. Eventually the supportive structure degrades to the point that the tooth either falls out or needs to be removed.
During pocket reduction procedures (also known as “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 may 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 destroyed by the disease.
A frequent symptom of gum disease is gum recession (also called gingival recession). As the gums recede, more of the roots are revealed. This can make teeth appear longer and can also create sensitivity to hot or cold liquids or food. It also exposes the tooth to increased damage from gum disease, 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 to 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.
Safe and Effective Gum Tissue Restoration.
From the simplest of procedures to the most complex, we are dedicated to your comfort. Our goal is to offer a wide array of gentle treatments that promote healthy teeth and gums in a way that feels good for you, our patient.
What is PerioLase LANAP?
PerioLase Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) is the latest technology used by your dentist for safe and effective gum tissue restoration and periodontal tissue therapy. In 2004, PerioLase received FDA approval, becoming the only approved dental laser on the market.
Differing greatly from traditional periodontal surgery, PerioLase creates a sterile and stable environment where bone and tissue are able to grow back together. If you have periodontitis, you know that your gums (or connective tissue) pull away from the tooth, creating pockets. The pockets become deeper as the disease progresses, causing bone loss.
Traditional perio-therapy involves your doctor scraping out the inside of the pockets, trying to avoid bone loss since the infected bone will no longer grow back. Using PerioLase, your dentist is able to create an environment where your body can regenerate itself. Your gums will reattach to the tooth; in fact, it is proven that PerioLase is the only laser to have a 100% success rate in tissue reconstruction.
How does PerioLase work to improve the health of my smile?
Before your dentist begins your LANAP procedure, your teeth are thoroughly cleaned, removing any tartar in an effort to make the tissue as healthy as possible. During your treatment, your dentist uses the PerioLase laser to find any diseased tissue in the pockets created from periodontitis. The laser kills pathogens (the bacteria causing the disease) without harming the good cells.
What is recovery from PerioLase treatment like?
Following your procedure, you will experience less swelling or bleeding, and more comfort than with traditional periodontitis surgery. Recovery time is also faster, getting you back to your daily activities sooner. LANAP provides a pleasant dental experience and better outcomes than any other conventional periodontal surgery.
How do I know if PerioLase is right for me?
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you are most likely a candidate for PerioLase. PerioLase is also a safe alternative to conventional surgery for those who suffer from other health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, or for those who might be pregnant. PerioLase may be recommended if you have had periodontal treatment in the past and are experiencing symptoms again. Once you have had gum disease, it is common to have a relapse. Consider PerioLase as a safe alternative to traditional periodontal surgery, and ask your dentist if PerioLase LANAP is the best option for you.