Teeth are what most often comes to mind when people think of dentistry. However, dentistry involves more than just teeth. Equally as important as the teeth are the gums. Healthy gums range from being coral pink to slightly darker and are tightly bound to the jawbone in order to seal and protect the tooth roots.
General dentists who offer periodontal services are devoted to maintaining healthy gums. Additionally, they may also offer services that pertain to treating conditions that affect the gums, as well as providing certain cosmetic services to improve the appearance of the gums. However, there are certain periodontal services that are performed more often. Here are three common periodontal treatments:
Treatment for Gum Disease
Unfortunately, gum disease is extremely prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of American adults aged 30 and over have periodontitis. There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can be reversed with treatment and good dental hygiene. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is an advanced form of gum disease that cannot be reversed, but can be managed. Management for periodontitis includes a specialized periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing. Scaling removes plaque from the teeth and gum pockets, while root planing smooths the roots to encourage receded gums to reattach themselves to the roots.
Placing Dental Implants
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed in the jawbone to act as an anchor for a dental prosthetic. To place dental implants, dental surgery is required. This involves making an incision in the gums, placing the implant screw into the jawbone, and suturing up the gums around a connector piece that the dental prosthetic will eventually be adhered to. For the successful placement of dental implants, the gum tissue must be properly cared for so that is in overall good condition. Additionally, the gums must be closely monitored directly following implant surgery and after the dental prosthetic is placed.
Cosmetic Periodontal Procedures
There are two cosmetic periodontal procedures that are performed. The first is crown lengthening surgery. It is called crown lengthening surgery earned its name because it removes excess gum tissue from gummy smiles. Crown lengthening procedures also reshapes the remaining tissue so that the visible part of the tooth, or crown, is visible and aesthetically pleasing. Another cosmetic treatment is a gum graft. With a gum graft, tissue taken from the roof of the mouth is placed over areas with significant gum recession. As the grafted tissue heals, it will help the gums to grow back over the tooth roots. While gum grafts may be performed for cosmetic reasons, they are also performed to protect the tooth roots from decay or tooth loss.
Treatments for gum disease, placing dental implants, and cosmetic periodontal procedures are all common periodontal treatments performed by general dentists. Each periodontal treatment functions to either maintain periodontal health, restore damaged or infected tissue, and to improve the aesthetics of the gums.
Dr. Chris Vinson and Dr. Kristie Vinson attended the College of Dentistry at The University of Oklahoma. Dr. Chris Vinson has earned a fellowship from the Misch International Implant Institute and a fellowship in International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is also certified to administer Oral and IV sedation to his patients through The Montefiore College of Medicine in New York and is Teeth-Express and Invisalign certified. Dr. Kristie Vinson is trained in sedation dentistry, Botox, and dermal fillers. She received a Fellowship from the Misch International Implant Institute and the Fellowship in International Congress of Oral Implantology. She is also Teeth-Express and Invisalign Certified.