Gum Surgery and Gum Grafting (Periodontics):
Gum Disease:
What is it?
Gum disease (periodontitis) is characterized by bacteria-induced chronic inflammation of the gums. This chronic inflammation leads to loss of supporting bone, which eventually results in loosening and loss of teeth. The bone loss also results in formation of a “periodontal pocket” which is an abnormal space between your teeth, gums, and bone that allows more bacteria to grow and the disease to progress faster.

Treatment:
Treating gum disease is often complex and requires several steps that are individually prescribed. If you have been told that you have gum disease, you may require some or all of the following treatments:
1) Deep Cleaning: A deep cleaning is often performed with freezing and it allows the dentist or hygienist to reach deep into the periodontal pocket and remove bacteria-infested plaque and tarter/calculus. It also involves smoothing your root surfaces to make them less prone to re-infestation with plaque and bacteria. If your periodontal pockets are very deep, the only way to remove all the bacteria is with more extensive gum surgery.
2) Maintenance cleanings (every 3 months): After an initial deep cleaning, you need to return for regular cleanings every 3 months to ensure that bacteria are not re-infesting the existing periodontal pockets.
3) Pocket elimination surgery: The procedure helps remove deeply-infested bacteria and involves re-shaping the bone and gum tissue in a way that eliminates the deep periodontal pockets so that bacteria can no longer grow in them.

Risks:
Recession: After your gums are no longer inflamed, they may shrink and recede, causing your teeth to appear longer.

Sensitivity: If your gums recede, the root surfaces may become sensitive. Usually this sensitivity resolves with time.

Excessive bleeding/infection: usually not a problem if you follow post-operative instructions as directed and inform us of any blood thinners/medications you may be taking.

Recession:
What is it?
Gum recession is the abnormal exposure of the root surfaces of teeth, which are normally covered by gums. There are many possible causes of gum recession, including orthodontic treatment (braces), aggressive/improper tooth brushing/flossing, and gum disease. Recession may cause your root surfaces to become sensitive to touch or cold drinks/cold air, and will make your roots prone to caries and wear. Recession always occurs with loss of bone, which may result in loosening of teeth over time.

Treatment:
Treatment of gum recession involves identifying and removing any possible causes that resulted in the recession in the first place, followed by gum grafting surgery to correct the recession and cover the root. Depending on the severity of recession, grafting may not always correct the recession completely, but it will make your gums less prone to further recession. At City Dental, we offer two gum grafting techniques: one involves harvesting the tissue graft from the roof of your mouth; the other involves using an allogenic material called AlloDerm, which eliminates the need to harvest your own tissue. Our dentists will explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Risks:
Excessive bleeding/infection: usually not a problem if you follow post-operative instructions as directed and inform us of any blood thinners/medications you may be taking.

Sensitivity: Gum grafting involves treating your root surfaces to help the new gum adhere to them. Sometimes a small amount of root may remain exposed and become sensitive. This usually resolves with some time.