Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontics: Expert in Treating Gum Disease

The word "periodontal" literally means "around the tooth". Periodontal Disease (also known as "gum disease" or "periodontal infection") is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone around your teeth. This infection leads to an inflammation under the gums, and if not treated, this inflammation can destroy the bone around your teeth. This results in tooth loss. 75% of all adult tooth loss is due to periodontal infection.

More importantly, research has associated periodontal infection to several serious medical problems including:

  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • and stroke.

As ongoing research continues to define how periodontal disease is associated with these and other health problems, oral health maintenance is essential. Periodontal health is a key component to a healthy body.

Periodontist for Watertown & Waltham

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Many periodontists have also taken advanced training in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including 3 additional years of education beyond dental school. Periodontics is one of the 8 specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

Common Periodontal Procedures

As a specialty, periodontics, is concerned with the gum and bone surrounding your teeth (referrred to as soft and hard tissue). In addition to the treatment of gum disease, you may also be referred to a periodontal specialist for the placement of dental implants or gum & bone contouring for aesthetic or functional reasons.

Dental Implants

Although there are several different procedures for replacing teeth, dental implants are the most natural replacement for missing teeth. They do not require alterations in adjacent teeth, and the dental implant post stimulates your jawbone in the same way as your natural teeth.  The leads to less bone loss and preserves a younger facial appearance.

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Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is a procedure that can be done to contour the gums to reveal additional tooth structure. It can be recommended for both functional and aesthetic purposes.

For Cosmetic Reasons:

Sometimes the teeth are quite small in relation to the gum tissue. This can create an unattractive, gummy smile. An uneven gum line can also be distracting.

The gum line, and the bone just beneath the gum line, can be lowered to change the appearance of your smile. This can create a more even gum line or make the teeth appear longer. Gingival (gum) contouring is the process of recontouring the gum only. Crown lengthening refers to recontouring of both gum and supporting bone.

For Functional Reasons

Before placing a crown, your dentist must first prepare your tooth. Sometimes there is not enough tooth structure above the gum line to accept a new crown. "Crown lengthening" provides more tooth structure for your crown. This ensures a more stable crown with less resulting gum irritation.

Ridge Augmentation

Sometimes after an extraction, a sunken spot or concave appearance will develop in your gum line. This looks unsightly and can also jeopardize the appearance of a bridge that goes over the area. Grafting material can be inserted under the gum to fill out this depression.

Ridge augmentation can also be used to build up an area of bone so that a dental implant can be placed.

Tissue Grafting

For Cosmetic Reasons

In addition to the functional problems previously mentioned, receding gums can look unsightly.

Longer looking teeth and exposed tooth roots give an "old" appearance to your smile. Some people cover their mouths when they smile for this very reason.

Cosmetic Soft Tissue Grafting can add a new youthful appearance to your smile.

For Functional Reasons

Normally gum tissue surrounds and protects the delicate roots of your teeth. Exposed tooth roots are prone to tooth decay, root canal infection, discoloration and actual jawbone loss. All of this can lead to tooth loss in advanced cases.

Functional Soft Tissue Grafting replaces the missing gum tissue and protects your teeth. For this reason, soft tissue grafting may be recommended even for back teeth.