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Inflamed and irritated gums may be signs of periodontal disease. In the early stages, it is highly treatable. However, advanced periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and the need for extensive restorative dentistry treatments. Dr. Brian J. Polidori offers periodontal surgery at our Lakewood, CO, dental practice to clear advanced gum infection and restore periodontal health. He can also perform cosmetic gum surgery for patients with “gummy” smiles. Dr. Polidori earned a doctorate degree in dental surgery and regularly attends continuing education to stay on the leading edge of advancements in oral surgery.
Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky film made up of bacteria and other particles, hardens on the teeth. At-home dental care helps remove plaque, and professional cleanings remove the hardened plaque, which is called tartar. However, plaque and tartar that is not removed can cause gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums. This mild form of gum disease can be treated with professional cleaning and extra attention to oral hygiene at home.
If it is left untreated, however, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. This is a much more serious condition that causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. When this happens, bacteria begin to spread under the gum line, and the bone and connective tissues holding the teeth in place start to break down. Without effective care, the pockets become deeper and the teeth can loosen and fall out, or need to be extracted.
Dr. Polidori can usually treat early gum disease with medications or other nonsurgical methods such as scaling and root planing. During this procedure, he will eliminate bacterial pockets and smooth your dental roots to help prevent bacteria from returning.
If nonsurgical treatments are not effective, or if periodontal disease is too advanced, then periodontal surgery becomes necessary to heal the gums
If nonsurgical treatments are not effective, or if periodontal disease is too advanced, then periodontal surgery becomes necessary to heal the gums. Dr. Polidori uses gentle methods and offers options in sedation dentistry to ensure your comfort. The type of sedation he recommends will depend on the procedure and your individual needs.
With this procedure, the gum tissue is gently folded back to allow Dr. Polidori to access and remove the bacteria that is causing the disease. When this is complete, he sutures the gum tissue into place so it fits snugly around the bases of the teeth. He may also smooth any irregular surfaces of damaged bone to eliminate areas where bacteria can collect and help the gum tissue reattach properly.
A gingival (gum) graft is performed to cover the exposed tooth roots that result from gum recession. Dr. Polidori uses tissue taken from the roof of your mouth and grafts it to areas where the gums have receded. A gingival graft will protect exposed tooth roots, decreasing sensitivity, improving appearance, and helping to prevent additional gum recession and bone loss.
This cosmetic dentistry procedure, which is known as gum contouring, gum reshaping, or crown lengthening, is performed to make the teeth appear larger and the upper gum line less prominent in patients with gummy smiles. First, Dr. Polidori will mark your new gum line with a special pen, and then remove small amounts of gum tissue to achieve the desired result. Your gums create the frame for your smile, and proper proportion added by the procedure can be transformative.
If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, or if you are experiencing symptoms such as tenderness, bleeding, or gum recession, we recommend seeking periodontal treatment as soon as possible. To learn more about your options for periodontal surgery, please contact our practice today.