Periodontics is a dental practice that specializes in the treatment of inflammatory disease of the gum. The gums and the tissues that support the teeth are usually destroyed by this disease if not treated. A periodontist, therefore, will focus on helping his or her patients prevent periodontal disease, diagnose and treat it. Periodontists are also specialized in the fixing of dental implants and are highly trained in their specialty areas. They also ensure that they are well trained in the current techniques of diagnosing, prevention, and treatment of gum or periodontal disease.
If you suspect you have gum disease or your loved one has, you need to visit a periodontist who will diagnose it and offer the various treatment options. At Encino Dentist, we specialize in periodontics procedures as well as dental practices to help you maintain excellent dental health.
Overview of Periodontics
As earlier stated, periodontics are dentists that receive additional three-year training after their general dental training to specialize in the treatment of periodontal disease. These specialists use both surgical and nonsurgical procedures in the treatment of periodontal disease. They are also highly trained in dental implants, especially the replacement of missing teeth. Here, we will discuss the various procedures in periodontics to treat gum diseases.
Nonsurgical Procedures or Treatments
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), stresses that to achieve periodontal health, it does not need to be invasive or expensive. This can be accomplished by the use of nonsurgical treatment for periodontal disease.
However, the use of nonsurgical procedures in the treatment of gum disease has its limitations. When periodontal health is not achieved through this method, the periodontist will have to use surgical techniques to restore healthy gums. Some of the nonsurgical methods used include:
Root Planing and Scaling
This is the cleaning of the surfaces around the root to get rid of tartar and plaque. This is a delicate procedure that reaches deeply into the periodontal pockets and smoothes the root of the tooth to eliminate bacterial toxins. Adjunctive therapy sometimes follows this procedure that includes locally delivered antimicrobials, host modulation, and systemic antibiotics as required in the particular case.
Periodontics agree that after the process of scaling and root planing, some patients will not need active treatment anymore. But, most patients will need to continue with therapy to maintain excellent dental health.
Tray Delivery System
This is another nonsurgical procedure used in treating periodontal disease. This system consists of a tray that is a custom made tray. Impressions of the mouth are taken to make these trays. By these trays, the patients use them to deliver medication prescribed by the periodontist. These trays are like those used in the prevention of tooth decay known as fluoride trays.
Gum Graft Surgery
When gums recede, they leave teeth roots exposed. This can make the roots more vulnerable to diseases and even bone loss. A periodontist can use surgery to correct the defect and prevent more recession and possible bone loss.
This procedure is used to help develop new gum tissue or cover the exposed roots. During the surgery, the periodontist harvests the tissues to use from the patient’s palate. Sometimes when the membrane is not sufficient, a donor can be used to give more. This procedure is ideal for a single tooth or even more teeth. One of the key benefits of this procedure, according to patients, is the reduction of sensitivity.
A gum graft is beneficial because it prevents bone loss and the additional recession of your gums. When the teeth are also exposed, the patient is self-conscious, but the surgery will help bring the beauty back as it reduces sensitivity. When teeth are endangered due to gum recession, they are more vulnerable to tooth decay. A gum graft will work to prevent the risk of decaying teeth as well as improve the patient’s periodontal health.
Using Lasers in the Treatment of Gum Disease
This is another procedure periodontists use in the treatment of gum diseases. This procedure achieves the same results as those found after undergoing scaling and root planing.
Many patients, however, have concerns about the safety of this procedure. With an experienced periodontist, the process is harmless, but there are risks as well. Lasers have various power levels and wavelengths that, when expertly used, will treat gum diseases effectively. Periodontal or gum tissues can get damaged by this procedure if not carefully administered. When the wrong wavelength or power level for the lesser-used is inappropriate, there will be apparent damage to the periodontal tissues.
If you want to use this procedure, the first step would be to discuss it with your periodontist. Let him or her explain the advantages and the risk factors before you settle. Additionally, various conditions will call for different procedures. When your periodontist examines you, they will recommend the best method according to the need.
This is another dental procedure that periodontists specialize in. This procedure involves the regeneration of tissues and lost bone that support teeth. When a person has suffered from periodontal disease, the masses or the gum and the surrounding bone structure gets destroyed. A periodontist will use a regenerative procedure to help your body produce more bone and tissues.
With this procedure, the damage is reversed, resulting in healthy gums. During the process, the periodontist folds the gum tissues back to remove the bacteria, causing the disease. The periodontist will then proceed to fix filters or membranes, perform bone grafts that help your body in generating the lost tissues and bone.
When the bacteria is removed, and the tissues and bones are regenerated, the depths of the pockets are reduced. This is essential in repairing the damage that resulted from the periodontal disease. After the procedure, a patient is encouraged to maintain excellent dental hygiene and seek professional care in maintaining the results. This will increase the chance of preserving your teeth and avoid losing them.
The Procedure of Lengthening Dental Crown
When your dental crown is short, it means when you smile, your gums are more visible than your teeth. This is what is referred to as a gummy smile, where your teeth seem short. In some cases, the teeth are long, but due to a lot of gum covering them, you will look like you hardly have teeth. This affects the confidence of many people, and you find them covering their mouths when they laugh.
Fortunately, this can be rectified by a periodontist who works at lengthening the crown. During the procedure of extending your crown, the periodontist reshapes your excess bone and gum tissue. Once this is done, more of your natural teeth are exposed at a regular length. The procedure can be performed on a single tooth or on several teeth, revealing a broad natural smile.
Your periodontist can also recommend you undergo crown lengthening in preparation for a dental or restorative procedure. Maybe you have a decayed tooth, or it is broken beneath the gum line. Your tooth can also lack sufficient structure to support restoration by a bridge or crown. When the periodontist lengthens your crown, it exposes the previously hidden tooth to allow its restoration.
This is another practice area of periodontics. Dental implants refer to artificial roots fitted on to a jawline or bone to support a bridge or replacement tooth. Individuals that have lost their natural teeth or tooth because of periodontal disease or an accident can get them replaced through implants.
Installation of implants is another specialty of periodontists. When you experience tooth loss, talking to a periodontist helps know the best way to replace it, and the type of implant. There are various types of implants that periodontists use to replace missing teeth. These are:
- Endosteal – This is one of the popular kinds of implants that are fitted in the bone. The different types include blades, cylinders, or screws that are fitted on the jawbone surgically. The prosthetic teeth are held in place by these implants. This implant is typically used instead of removable dentures or bridges.
- Subperiosteal – These kinds of implants are placed on the jaw but not inside the bone like endosteal. A metallic frame is made and fitted on the jaw but comes out through the gums to support the prosthetic teeth. This kind of implant is ideal for individuals that cannot have conventional dentures or those with short bone height.
Before a periodontist certifies you fit for an implant, they must ensure your oral health is excellent. If there are any periodontal diseases, they must get treated before using any implants. The patient must also have sufficient bone for supporting the implant when fitted.
Periodontists are experts in dental implants and often work with other dentists in ensuring your smile is restored. Because of their expertise, they are able to replace your missing teeth to resemble your natural ones and ensure you have that beautiful natural smile.
The Procedure of Dental Implants
Your periodontist, with the help of other dental professionals, will examine you to know where to place the implant. The procedure is determined on a case by case basis where the periodontist will design a plan tailored to your needs. Some of the requirements a patient may want addressing will include:
- Replacement of a single tooth – this procedure is ideal for individuals that need a single tooth replaced
- Replacing more than one tooth – if a patient has lost several teeth, dental implants can also be used to replace them
- Replacement of all your teeth – a patient missing all their teeth can have a bridge that is supported by implants to replace their whole set of teeth.
- Augmentation of the Sinus – the quality and volume of the jawbone where an implant will be fitted is essential for the success of implants. If you need implants on the back upper jaw, you may require the adjustment of the sinus to facilitate the fixing of the implant. This area is challenging because the bone volume is less and the quality in addition to the sinus proximity. A periodontist will be able to augment the sinus to allow the development of more bone that will support implants.
- Ridge Modification – some people are born with deformities in either of their jaws. This will make it impossible for implants to be fitted. However, a periodontist can make the situation right by lifting the gum from the ridge, exposing the defective bone. A bone substitute or another bone is used to build the ridge. This modification usually improves the patient’s appearance and the chance of the implants being successful.
Once your dental implants are fitted, they are just like your natural teeth and require the same amount of care. You must floss and brush every day to avoid the buildup of plaque or tartar. Talking to your periodontist to develop an ideal care plan is crucial. This will help prevent the failure of the implants.
The Procedure for Reducing Pockets
Ideally, your gum and bone tissue must fit securely around your teeth. When you suffer from periodontal disease, the supporting bone structure, and tissue is destroyed, resulting in pockets or spaces around your teeth.
In time, the pockets widen and deepen, creating a conducive environment for the growth of bacteria. As the bacterium grows around your teeth, they are likely to reach beneath the gum. The pockets created continue to accumulate bacteria, leading to more loss of tissue and bone. When a lot of bone is lost, you will be forced to extract the affected teeth.
When the pockets are very deep to clean with the general home or professional care, your periodontist will recommend a procedure to reduce the pocket sizes. Your periodontist will fold the gum back and remove the bacteria, then secures the gum again. On rare occasions, surfaces of the destroyed bone are sanded to smoothen them. This helps in limiting the areas where the bacteria can grow. The remaining tissue is better able to attach itself to the healthy bone as a result.
When periodontal disease progresses, it creates these pockets that are destructive to your periodontal health. Getting rid of the bacteria present is not enough to prevent the recurrence of the disease. When the pockets are deep, they get more complicated to clean, making it essential to reduce them. When the pockets are reduced, and you maintain excellent oral hygiene, you increase the chances of preserving your teeth.
Procedures in Plastic Surgery
When it comes to plastic surgery in dentistry, periodontists are seen as such. When a person is looking at improving their smile, turning to a periodontist will help. There are various surgical procedures that periodontists carry out. Some of these include:
Correcting uneven Gum Line or Gummy Smile
As earlier discussed, when your teeth seem very short, or your gum appears longer than your teeth, you can have this corrected and expose longer teeth. This is a procedure that can be carried out on your entire mouth or on the affected teeth only. This procedure involves removing excess gum tissue and exposing more of your dental crown. The periodontist then shapes the gum line to give a more natural-looking smile.
Correcting Exposed Teeth
This is the opposite of having a gummy smile. When the gum recedes, the roots of a patient’s teeth get exposed. This makes many patients look older than they are, which is not pleasing. Many issues can lead to the recession of gums, with one of them being periodontal disease.
If you have this problem, visiting a periodontist will lead to a surgical procedure that corrects the situation. The periodontist can use grafting or other procedures aimed at reducing the recession of gums and prevent the roots from decaying.
Correcting Indentations on the Jawbone
When a person loses their tooth, there is a creation of dent or indentation on the jaw. When a tooth gets lost, the jawbone starts to recede because it has no tooth in place. The indentation looks unnatural, and when the tooth is replaced, it often looks longer than the other teeth.
If this is your case, your periodontist will perform a procedure known as ridge augmentation. This procedure aims at filling the space to create a natural contour on your gum or jawline. Once this is done, your periodontist can fix a dental implant to replace the lost tooth.
Prevention of Periodontal Disease
As discussed in this article, periodontists are experts in treating periodontal or gum disease. They also are useful in providing tips on how to prevent this disease from occurring or recurring. Gum disease can lead to many problems that include loss of teeth, gum tissue, and the surrounding bone structure. These issues, when they happen, are also corrected by periodontists.
When one accumulates plaque due to poor dental hygiene, the bacteria found there can cause inflammation of the gum. If not treated, this inflammation can result in many issues, as earlier discussed. Fortunately, one can prevent periodontal disease. The following habits, if added to your dental hygiene, can help prevent the diseases, according to experts. These are:
- Ensuring to brush your teeth after every meal to remove food particles and plaque found between them and under the gum line
- Using mouthwash to rinse your mouth helps remove remaining food debris, all over your mouth
- Flossing to remove particles trapped between your teeth is essential for your dental health and prevention of gum disease
- Avoiding habits that increase the risk of developing periodontal disease such as smoking.
Find a Encino Dentist Near Me
The potential risks of developing periodontal disease are high if one is not careful. However, if you find you are suffering from this disease or have the symptoms, making an appointment with a periodontist is crucial. The consequences of periodontal disease are dire. Fortunately, periodontists are highly trained to correct these potential risks when they happen. Getting an experienced periodontist is essential for any of the above procedures. At Encino Dentist, we have a team of periodontists experienced in the treatment of periodontal disease and all corrective measures. Call us for an appointment at 818-650-0429, and let us take care of your periodontal health.