A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. They are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, and are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.
Periodontists often treat more problematic periodontal cases, such as those with severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, such as scaling and root planing (in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned) or root surface debridement (in which damaged tissue is removed). They can also treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures. In addition, periodontists are specially trained in the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants.
During the first visit, the periodontist usually reviews the patient’s complete medical and dental histories. It is extremely important for the periodontist to know if any medications are being taken or if the patient is being treated for any condition that can affect periodontal care, such as heart disease, diabetes, or pregnancy.
The periodontist examines the gums, checks to see if there is any gum line recession, assesses how the teeth fit together when biting, and checks the teeth to see if any are loose. The periodontist will also take a small measuring instrument called a probe and place it between the teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets; this helps the periodontist assess the health of the gums. X-rays
DEEP CLEANING (SRPS)
A deep cleaning, or Scaling and Root Planing (SRP), are the same thing. While SRP is the technical term, many dentists have taken to referring to them as “Gum Therapy”, “Gingival Bacterial Control”, or “Subgingival Therapy” because of the increasing public resistance to deep cleanings.
An SRP is essentially scraping the calculus off roots of your teeth, below the gum line, either with a metal scaler or with an ultrasonic scaler. The calculus forms from hardened plaque, which is naturally produced from food and saliva over time, and has to be mechanically removed from the teeth.
As periodontal disease progresses, natural pockets between your gum tissue and your teeth grow deeper, allowing calculus to form further down the root of the tooth. Over time, this further exacerbates the problem and leads to inflammation, bone loss, and ultimately infection and tooth loss.
The goal of an SRP is to remove this calculus, allowing the pockets to tighten back around the tooth. The image below is an individual with a severe state of the disease, and one we attempt to avoid with treatment.
LASER GUM SURGERY
If your gums rest too low or too high on your teeth and you are unhappy with your smile, you may be a candidate for gum contouring surgery. Also called gum reshaping or tissue sculpting, this cosmetic dental procedure can even out an uneven gum line and give you a smile you can be proud of.
A number of things can cause your gums to be too low or too high. Gums that cover a large portion of your teeth can make your teeth look small. This may be the result of genetics, a particular health problem, or taking certain prescription drugs.
Gums that are too high and make your teeth appear long are often caused by gum recession, a condition in which gum tissue pulls back from a tooth and exposes the tooth’s root. Not only can gum recession make your teeth look long, it can lead to serious dental problems such as decay and tooth loss. Gum recession may also be a sign of periodontal disease, the deterioration of the supporting structures of the teeth (gums and bone) .
Gum Contouring Surgery: Is It Necessary?
Gum contouring alone is considered a cosmetic procedure. Most of the time it is not medically necessary. Most people have their gums reshaped to improve the appearance of their smile. However, some people undergo gum contouring surgery as part of other necessary periodontal procedures, such as crown lengthening, pocket reduction, and regenerative procedures.
Gum contouring procedures not considered cosmetic include adding gum tissue when recession has occurred and trimming overgrown tissue that has covered part of the tooth crown.
What Type of Doctors Perform Gum Contouring
Many general dentists and periodontists (gum specialists) can perform the gum contouring procedure. Before having the procedure done, ask your dentist about his or her knowledge and experience with the process.
Gum Contouring: How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of gum contouring depends on the extent of the work being done. Talk to your dentist about the cost based on your individual needs. Dental insurance does not typically cover gum contouring for cosmetic purposes.
LASER CROWN LENGTHENING (LTR)
During the dental crown lengthening procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even your gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile.
How painful is a crown lengthening procedure?
Before the procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the surgical area. Typically, little to no discomfort is felt as your periodontist reshapes the gum and bone tissue to expose more structure of the damaged tooth.
Is Crown lengthening really necessary?
Crown lengthening can be necessary if there isn’t enough of the tooth in place to hold the crown on its own. … Crown lengthening reduces gum tissue and shaves down bone when necessary so more of the tooth is above the gum’s surface. A properly fitted crown allows for better oral hygiene and comfort.