Traditionally, gum disease is treated by eliminating the gum pockets. The infected gum tissue is trimmed away and uneven bone tissue re-contoured. Although this is still an effective way of treating gum disease, new and more sophisticated procedures are used routinely today.
Gum Grafting Procedures (Subepithelial Connective Tissue Grafts)
When recession of the gingival occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When gum recession is a problem, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option.
When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingival often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.
In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth. When significant, gum recession can predispose to worsening recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries and root gouging.
A gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth or gently moved over from adjacent areas to provide a stable band of attached gingival around the tooth. The gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover the exposed portion of the root.
The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.
Crown lengthening (or crown exposure) is required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. The edge of that restoration is deep below the gum tissue and not accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone or below the bone.
The procedure involves adjusting the level of the gum tissue and bone around the tooth in question to create a new gum-to–tooth relationship. This allows us to reach the edge of the restoration, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. It should also provide enough tooth structure so the new restoration will not come loose in the future. This allows you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to prevent decay and gum disease. The procedure takes approximately one hour.
When the procedure is completed, sutures, and a protective bandage are placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. You will need to be seen in one or two weeks to remove the sutures and evaluate your healing.
A cavity is below the gum line preventing it from being filled easily. The periodontist gently opens the area. He then contours the bone to lower the gum line. The bone has been lowered which will lower the level of the gum when it heals. The area has been closed up and now the cavity is exposed and can be filled. The cavity has been filled and the procedure is done.
Guided Tissue Bone Regeneration
Traditionally, eliminating the gum pockets by trimming away the infected gum tissue and by re-contouring the uneven bone tissue treats gum disease. Although this is still an effective way of treating gum disease, new and more sophisticated procedures are used routinely today.
Guided tissue bone regeneration regenerates the previously lost gum and bone tissue. Most techniques utilize membranes that are inserted over the bone defects. Some of these membranes are bio-absorbable and some require removal. Other regenerative procedures involve the use of bio active gels.
Cosmetic Periodontal Surgery
These procedures are a predictable way to cover unsightly, sensitive, or exposed root surfaces and to prevent future gum recession. If you are unhappy with the appearance of short unsightly teeth this can be greatly improved by a combination of periodontal procedures by a periodontist and cosmetic dentistry by your dentist.
Although your teeth appear short, they may actually be the proper length. The teeth may be covered with too much gum tissue. We can correct this by performing the periodontal plastic surgery procedure, crown lengthening.
During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue are reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to more than one tooth, to even your gum line, and to create a beautiful smile.
Another cosmetic procedure is the soft tissue graft. It is used to cover unattractive tooth roots, reduce gum recession, and protect the roots from decay and eventual loss.
Tooth loss causes the jawbone to recede and can lead to an unnatural looking indentation in your gums and jaw, an appearance of a general aging. The original look of your mouth may not be recaptured because of spaces remaining under and between replacement teeth. They may appear too long compared to nearby teeth.
Bone grafting following tooth loss can preserve the socket/ridge and minimize gum and bone collapse. There is less shrinkage and a more aesthetic tooth replacement for either an implant crown or fixed bridge around the replacement teeth.
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
Dental implants are changing the way people live! With them, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh, and enjoy life.
If, like many others, you feel a dental implant is the choice for you, we ask that you undergo a dental/radiographic examination and health history. During the consultation visits, your doctor will address your specific needs and considerations. Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.
We will also discuss fees and insurance coverage at this time. There are many types of insurance plans, and coverage for implants is varied. We will be happy to assist you in obtaining any benefits to which you may be entitled.
Dental implants are metal anchors that act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. Small posts are attached to the implant to provide stable anchors in the gums for replacement teeth.
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves one surgical procedure. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. Healing time following surgery varies from person to person and is based on a variety of factors that include hardness of bone. In some cases, implants may be restored immediately after they are placed.
For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your restorative dentist designs the final crown or denture that will ultimately improve both function and aesthetics of your smile.
|This transparent view of the gums shows the bone loss that has occurred from periodontal disease.||The periodontist gently opens the area.|
|He then fills it with bone grafting material.||A patch is placed to hold the material in.|
|The periodontist then closes the area and lets it heal.||The bone grafting material will integrate with the bone and the gum will also return to normal.|
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants.
Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and esthetic appearance.
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip, or tibia (below the knee.) Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects. Large defects are repaired using the patient’s own bone. This bone is harvested from a number of different sites depending on the size of he defect. These procedures are routinely performed in an operating room and require a hospital stay.
Sinus Lift Procedure
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants.
There is a solution called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The dental implant surgeon enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. Otherwise, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
In severe cases, the ridge of the jaw bone has been reabsorbed and a bone graft is placed to increase ridge height and/or width. This is a technique used to restore the lost bone dimension when the jaw ridge gets too thin to place conventional implants. In this procedure, the bony ridge of the jaw is literally expanded by mechanical means. Bone graft material can be placed and matured for a few months before placing the implant.
The inferior alveolar nerve which gives feeling to the lower lip and chin may need to be moved in order to make room for placement of dental implants to the lower jaw. This procedure is limited to the lower jaw and indicated when teeth are missing in the area of the two back molars and/or and second premolar, with the above-mentioned secondary condition. Since this procedure is considered a very aggressive approach (there is almost always some postoperative numbness of the lower lip and jaw area, which dissipates only very slowly, if ever). Usually other, less aggressive options are considered first (placement of blade implants, etc.).
Typically we remove an outer section of the cheek side of the lower jawbone in order to expose the nerve and vessel canal. Then we isolate the nerve and vessel bundle in that area, and slightly pull it out to the side. At the same time we place the implants, we'll be tracking the neuro-vascular bundle. Then the bundle is released and placed back over the implants. The surgical access is refilled with bone graft material of the surgeon’s choice and the area is closed.
These procedures may be performed separately or together depending upon the individual's condition. As stated earlier, there are several areas of the body that are suitable for attaining bone grafts. In the maxillofacial region, bone grafts can be taken from inside the mouth, in the area of the chin or third molar region or in the upper jaw behind the last tooth. In more extensive situations, a greater quantity of bone can be attained from the hip or the outer aspect of the tibia at the knee. When we use the patient’s own bone for repairs or addition, we generally get the best results.
In many cases, we can use allograft material to implement bone grafting for dental implants. This bone is prepared from cadavers and used to get the patients own bone to grow into the repair site. It is effective and very safe. Synthetic materials can also be used to stimulate bone formation. We even use factors from your own blood to accelerate and promote bone formation in graft areas.
These surgeries are performed in the outpatient surgical suite under IV sedation or general anesthesia. After discharge, bed rest is recommended for one day and limited physical activity for one week.