Surgical Periodontal Procedures
Sometimes a periodontist may need to perform a surgical procedure to treat periodontal disease and any damage it may have caused. Because they receive three years of specialized training following dental school, periodontists are experts in performing gum surgery and are trained in administering the appropriate comfort measures such as sedation or anesthesia during treatment.
Gum Graft Surgery
Exposed tooth roots are the result of gum recession. Gum graft surgery will cover the exposed root and help prevent additional recession and bone loss.
During gum graft surgery, your periodontist takes gum tissue from your palate or another donor source to cover the exposed root. Gum graft surgery can be performed on one tooth or multiple teeth, and may help reduce tooth sensitivity and improve the aesthetics of your smile.
Your periodontist may recommend a regenerative procedure when the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed due to periodontal disease. These procedures can reverse some of the damage by regenerating lost bone and tissue.
During this procedure, your periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria. Membranes (filters), bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage your body’s natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue.
Dental Crown Lengthening
Some individuals may have a “gummy” smile because the teeth appear short. In fact, the teeth may actually be the proper lengths, but they’re covered with too much gum tissue. To correct this, your periodontist performs a dental crown lengthening procedure.
During the dental crown lengthening procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even your gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile.
Your dentist or periodontist may also recommend dental crown lengthening to make a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure possible. Crown lengthening adjusts the gum and bone level to expose more of the tooth so it can be restored.
Periodontal Pocket Procedures
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming “pockets” around the teeth.
Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These pockets can result in bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.
During a periodontal pocket procedure, your periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.