Gum disease, or periodontitis, is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. This is caused by the bacteria found in plaque, a sticky film that forms on teeth. If left untreated by a dentist, gum disease can cause tissue damage and tooth loss.
Who is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dental specialist who has completed two additional years of schooling beyond dental school in order to focus solely on the gums, bones, and tissues surrounding the teeth. This includes performing procedures such as dental implants and gum grafting. Periodontists will also be able to diagnose and treat any issues you have with your gums and jawbone.
It’s recommended that you visit a periodontist every six to nine months for a routine cleaning and exam. This will ensure that your gums are in good condition and that your teeth will remain healthy for years to come.
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
Common symptoms of gum disease include bad breath, red gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing, and tender or sensitive gums. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your Dentist Hampton, VA as soon as possible. Treatment for gum disease can include deep cleanings to remove buildup from above and below the gum line, antibiotic medications to fight infection, and even surgery to repair damage in severe cases.
How is periodontitis treated?
Depending on the severity of your gum disease, you may need non-surgical or surgical treatments. Non-surgical treatments include scaling and root planing. This treatment removes plaque from beneath the gums and smoothes the root surfaces to prevent future buildup. Some dentists may also use lasers to remove bacteria and diseased gum tissue without harming the healthy tissue.
Surgical procedures are used when the gum pockets are too deep to clean properly with non-surgical methods. These procedures include pocket reduction surgery and soft tissue grafts. Pocket reduction surgery restores the health of the area surrounding the tooth by surgically reducing the depth of the pocket around the root of the tooth. A soft tissue graft is used to cover any exposed roots or develop gum tissue where there was little to none before. With proper treatment and good oral hygiene habits, patients with gingivitis can usually reverse their condition.
What is a gum lift?
Sometimes, it is necessary to remove a small amount of bone and gum tissue surrounding a tooth to prepare it for restoration, like a crown or bridge. This procedure is referred to as a “gum lift” or a “crown lengthening.” A gum lift is usually performed when teeth are short or if the tooth needs to be crowned due to a fracture.
The periodontist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. We will then make a small incision in the gums and carefully move away the tissue and/or bone to expose more of the natural tooth. In some cases, the dentist may also recommend reshaping the gums to make an even surface for the new restoration. A gum lift is typically a very routine procedure that can usually be completed in just one visit. However, if it involves removing a significant amount of tissue from the roof of your mouth, it may take more than one appointment to complete.
To find out more about the dental services offered at Cheng Dental, call (757) 838-9140 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 21 Towne Centre Way, Hampton, VA 23666.