Our periodontists are board certified and have the training and experience required by the American Dental Association to diagnose, treat, and prevent different forms of gum diseases. The doctors are adept at using the latest techniques to diagnose and treat gum disease, perform cosmetic procedures, administer periodontal procedures, and place and maintain dental implants.
After completing four years of dental school, periodontists must complete an extra two or more years of specialty postgraduate training through a hospital or university-based program accredited by the American Dental Association to become a periodontist.
Since research suggests a relationship between periodontal disease and other chronic diseases of aging, some periodontal treatments may require a greater understanding and increased level of expertise by a trained specialist. Patients who have moderate to severe levels of periodontal disease, or patients with complex medical cases, may be served best by treatment from a periodontist.
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Common treatments in which periodontists specialize include:
- Scaling and root planing (in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned)
- Osseous surgery (periodontal pocket reduction)
- Gum recession and tissue grafting
- Crown lengthening
- Regenerative procedures, bone graft, and ridge augmentations
- Placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants
ADDRESS YOUR GUM ISSUES NOW
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, affects millions of individuals per year. It develops when bacteria in plaque accumulates between the teeth and gums, and causes inflammation that leads to a variety of complications.
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that not only causes gum recession and tooth loss but has also been linked to heart disease and diabetes. If you suspect you may have periodontal disease, you cannot afford to wait any longer to visit our periodontist
WARNING SIGNS AND DIAGNOSES
Periodontal disease has three main stages.
- The first is gingivitis, during which you may experience red and swollen gums, a receding gum line, and bad breath.
- The second stage is periodontitis, which is characterized by bright red gums, swelling, tender gums, the appearance of gaps between teeth, and loose teeth.
- The final stage presents more severe symptoms, including bone loss, severe bad breath, receding gums, misaligned teeth, and swollen, bleeding gums. It’s vital to contact our periodontist if you experience any of these symptoms.
Addressing your periodontal condition immediately is crucial for your overall health. Studies indicate that the inflammatory response caused by periodontal disease can be linked to other chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s.
The treatment of periodontal inflammation will not only help to manage the disease but may also support the management of many other chronic inflammatory conditions.
Scaling and Root Planing
If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, the first course of action is to undergo scaling and root planing. This is one of the most effective, non-surgical ways to treat gum disease before it becomes severe. Scaling and root planing cleans between the gums and the teeth down to the roots.
Scaling is basically the process of removing dental tartar from the surfaces of the teeth. Root planing is the process of smoothing out the root surfaces and removing any infected tooth structure.
If you have gum disease or gum pocketing, the pockets around the teeth will have deepened, and thereby allowed tartar deposits to form under the gum line. A careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from deep periodontal pockets and smoothing of the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins will help to ensure your gum disease is controlled.
Scaling and root planing is a simple procedure that can work very well to stop gum disease. If you maintain good dental care after the procedure, the progression of your gum disease should stop, and your gums will heal and become firm and pink again in no time.
Osseous Surgery Periodontal Pocket Reduction
Osseous surgery, also known as pocket-depth reduction, is a surgical procedure intended to restore your gums to a healthier, more natural state. If your periodontist has recommended osseous surgery, it is because you have pockets that are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional routine care.
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth to create a protective cover from bacteria. If you have periodontal disease, the supporting tissue and bone are destroyed, and this forms pockets around the teeth. Over time, these pockets become deeper and provide a larger space for bacteria to live.
As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, and result in further bone and tissue loss. To reduce the need for extractions, osseous surgery may be recommended.
Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are essential to prevent the damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence. Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so it’s important to make them as small as possible.
Small pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care will increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth as well as reduce the odds of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.
Gum Recession and Tissue Grafting
Your gums may have receded for a variety of reasons, including aggressive tooth brushing or periodontal disease. You may not be in control of what caused the recession, but prior to treatment, your periodontist can help you identify the factors that contribute to the problem.
Gum grafting will cover the exposed roots and protect them from decay, help reduce tooth sensitivity, and improve the aesthetics of your smile. Whether you have a gum graft to improve function or aesthetics, you’ll probably receive the benefits of a beautiful new smile and improved periodontal health: your keys to smiling, eating, and speaking with comfort and confidence.
Gum recession is caused by advanced gum disease. When gingivitis goes untreated, gum disease (also called periodontitis) will cause gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving deep pockets where bacteria can grow and damage the bone that supports the teeth. Gums can also shrink back from the teeth, which makes them look longer. Teeth may then become loose, fall out, or have to be pulled by a dentist.
Do you have gum recession?
Gum recession does not happen overnight. You may not even notice that your gums have receded, since it is a very slow, gradual process. However, without a gum tissue graft, recession can have a detrimental effect on the health and function of your teeth. If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis or periodontal disease, it is useful to note whether:
- You have sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, or even to sweet, spicy, or sour foods
- Your teeth appear longer than normal
- Spaces between your teeth seem to grow
- The roots of your teeth begin to show
Gum Tissue Grafting
Depending on your specific needs, your periodontist will perform one of three different types of gum tissue grafts.
- Connective tissue grafts – The most common method to treat root exposure, connective tissue grafting involves the periodontist cutting a flap of skin on the roof of your mouth (or palate) and removing tissue from under the flap, called sub-epithelial connective tissue. This tissue is stitched to the gum tissue that surrounds the exposed root. After the connective tissue, or graft, has been removed from under the flap, the flap is then stitched back down.
- Free gingival grafts – Similar to a connective tissue grafting, a free gingival graft involves the use of tissue from the roof of the mouth. But instead of making a flap and removing tissue under the top layer of flesh, a small amount of tissue is removed directly from the roof of the mouth and then attached to the gum area being treated. This method is used most often in people who have thin gums to begin with and need additional tissue to enlarge them.
- Pedicle grafts – In this procedure, instead of taking tissue from the palate, it is grafted from gum around or near the tooth that needs repair. The flap, called a pedicle, is only partially cut away so that one edge remains attached. The gum is then pulled over or down to cover the exposed root and sewn into place. This procedure can only be done if you have plenty of gum tissue near the tooth.
Many factors will contribute to your chosen grafting technique. Your periodontist can tell you which method will work best for you, your health, and your smile.
If you feel your smile is “gummy” or your teeth are too small, crown lengthening may be right for you. This is a procedure performed by periodontists to reshape the gum line and improve the aesthetics of the smile by exposing more of the teeth.
Crown lengthening involves removing excess gum tissue around the upper teeth to make them look longer. If the gum line is uneven, crown lengthening can also sculpt it to produce a more symmetrical, balanced smile.
Crown lengthening may be done for dental care and medical reasons as well as for cosmetic purposes. If your periodontist finds decay or fracture under the gum line, for example, crown lengthening can help expose more of the tooth’s crown in order to support a filling or restoration.
Call 832-804-7427 to schedule an appointment to find out if crown lengtening can give you the smile you've always wanted.
Also called regenerative surgery, a bone graft is used to recreate bone and soft supporting tissues lost due to periodontitis. If you have periodontitis, you may be losing bone support around your teeth. In order to avoid extractions, your periodontist may recommend re-growing the lost bone with a graft.
The goal of bone grafting is to encourage the body to rebuild the bone and other structures that attach a tooth to the jaw. First, your periodontist will separate the gums from your teeth in order to gain access to the roots and bone. The roots will be thoroughly cleaned, and the holes in the bone will be filled with a graft material that usually consists of your own bone.
After that step is completed, your periodontist will put the gums back in place and stitch them together. Over the next few months, the grafted material will be encouraged to grow, which will fill in for lost bone and soft tissue.
A common use of bone grafting is for ridge augmentation. Ridge augmentation can recapture the natural contour of your gums and jaw after the loss of a tooth as a result of trauma, congenital anomalies, infection, or periodontal disease. Achieving an ideal amount of gum and bone as a support to surrounding restorations or implants may require hard and soft tissue reconstruction.
After the loss of one or more teeth, your gums and jawbone may become indented where the tooth or teeth used to be. This occurs because the jawbone recedes when it no longer is holding a tooth in place. Not only is this indentation unnatural looking, it also causes the replacement tooth to look too long compared to the adjacent teeth, and this can create an area that is difficult to keep clean.
Ridge augmentation uses bone and tissue-grafting procedures to fill in the indented area of the jaw and gums, in order to leave you with a smooth gum line that coexists with your restoration or dental implant.
DENTAL IMPLANTS: A PERMANENT SOLUTION FOR REPLACING MISSING TEETH
Dental implants provide you with the best opportunity to get the smile you have always dreamed of. By replacing damaged or missing teeth, implants can drastically improve your appearance and health. With the use of cutting-edge technology, our periodontists are able to give patients new and improved smiles with dental implants.
Call 832-804-7427 to schedule an appointment within the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area, Beaumont and Corpus Christi.