When it comes to your oral health, your gums matter just as much as your teeth. While your teeth are susceptible to developing cavities without consistent oral hygiene, your gums can actually experience an infection called periodontal disease. Early symptoms include redness, swelling, and sensitivity, but left alone, it can lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss!
Fortunately for people in and around Friendship Heights, our team here at Aesthetic & Family Dentistry Specialists are experts when it comes to finding and treating periodontal disease, so if you’re dealing with an advanced infection, he can help you quickly turn it into a distant memory. To start getting the care you need right here in Washington, DC, contact us today.
Scaling and root planing are similar to a regular dental cleaning, and they’re specifically designed to remove the root cause of periodontal disease—deposits of bacteria-filled plaque and tartar on the teeth below the gum line. First, the roots of the teeth are thoroughly cleaned (scaling), and then they are reshaped to make their rough surfaces smoother (root planing). This prevents plaque from accumulating around the gums in the future, keeping a patient safe from reinfection.
Gum recession is a common symptom of periodontal disease in which the soft tissues of the mouth actually pull away from the teeth. This can make the teeth look unnaturally long and expose the sensitive enamel around the roots, dramatically increasing a patient’s risk for tooth loss. With Chao Pinhole Surgery, our team can correct this problem in a single appointment without any incisions or sutures. We use a hole the size of a pin in the gums to gently massage and stretch the tissue back into place. Compared to a traditional gum graft, this procedure is faster and more comfortable, and patients are able to recover much quicker as well.
When detected early, periodontal disease can often be treated using non-surgical methods, whether that involves a deep cleaning like scaling and root planing or having a patient use a prescription antibacterial mouthwash at home. Our team always uses these more conservative methods first so he can help a patient in the most convenient and cost-effective way possible. Our approach also enables a patient to establish a routine for ongoing care to keep their smile healthy for years to come.
Gum recontouring is a cosmetic procedure used to help patients with a “gummy” smile, where more of the gums show than the teeth. This can not only give someone an unbalanced appearance, but it can also make them more vulnerable to developing gum sensitivity and periodontal disease. Out team can use a soft tissue laser to painlessly remove any excess tissue to expose more of a patient’s underlying enamel, instantly helping the teeth appear longer and their smile better proportioned.
This procedure is used to reveal more of a tooth’s crown to allow our team to fix any damage below the gum line or prep the tooth to support a restoration like a crown or veneer. After numbing a patient, we make a small incision in the gum line, and then we remove a tiny amount of the bone that surrounds a tooth, uncovering a previously hidden portion of the crown. From there, we can repair a crack or decay, or he can refer a patient back to their general dentist to receive their new restoration.
To help patients dealing with gum recession due to periodontal disease, our team may recommend gum regeneration. This procedure involves gently folding back the gum tissue, removing any disease-causing bacteria, and then placing collagen membranes or other healing proteins to encourage the growth of new healthy tissue. This cannot only reverse the damage caused by periodontal disease, but it can also reduce the size of periodontal pockets, keeping a patient from developing future infections.
A gingivectomy is used to trim away dead or infected gum tissue in order to stop the spread of bacteria as well as improve the appearance of the smile. Typically, we utilize a soft tissue laser for this procedure, which is able to remove the tissue while creating practically no heat, sound, or vibration. This makes the experience virtually painless, and because the laser also cauterizes and sanitizes the area as it goes, patients develop little to no post-treatment swelling and discomfort.
Whether due to periodontal disease or missing teeth, bone and gum loss can severely affect a patient’s oral health and appearance and limit their treatment options if left alone for a long time. With grafting procedures, our team can use tissues from a patient’s own body to build up, restore, and strengthen their gum line or jawbone. Typically, these treatments can be completed in a single appointment and most patients report feeling practically nothing while in the chair.