Serving Arlington, Virginia
With your gums being the foundation for your teeth, it is imperative that you keep them healthy. Studies show that untreated gum disease (periodontal disease) is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. Recent data even suggests a possible association between periodontal disease and other health issues including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and preterm low birth-weight babies. When you notice that your gums are red or swollen, take that as a warning sign to get to the dentist. If they bleed when you brush or floss, see that as an indication of serious gum health issues.
Nipping them in the bud, with professional cleanings and periodontal care, our expert dental care team strives to protect the health and functionality of your entire mouth. Stopping infections from negatively affecting your teeth and gums, we provide comprehensive periodontal care as effectively as we do cavity prevention and other oral health issues.
Basic and extensive periodontal procedures include:
- Bone Grafting
- Ridge Augmentation
- Sinus Augmentation
- Crown Lengthening
- Gum Or Soft Tissue Grafting
- Scaling And Root Planing
- Occlusal Adjustments
- Periodontal Splinting
- Osseous Surgery (Pocket Reduction)
- Cosmetic Periodontal Surgery
- Guided Tissue Regeneration
- And More!
This common periodontal treatment, fights infection right where it starts. Used after scaling and root planing, also known as deep cleaning, ARESTIN® (minocycline hydrochloride) is an effective antibiotic treatment that comes in powder form. This powder is placed inside infected periodontal pockets helping fight rid of the infection and heal your periodontal disease.
Throughout the medical field, a biopsy is simply the removal of a tissue sample to determine if it is diseases. In dentistry, teeth and gums are sent for biopsy. The role of a biopsy in the dental industry is to diagnose oral cancer. In these instances, a brush biopsy is used to identify oral lesions that warrant further attention.
If you have unexplained lesions in your mouth, they need to be examined by a dentist. They may or may not be cancerous, but they need medical attention nonetheless.
Building up the jawbone to accommodate dental implants or other restorative device is called bone grafting. It is commonly used for dental implants or in other periodontal treatments. A sample bone is taken from the patient to graph, mostly from another area of the mouth where the drilling is taking place. Bone fragments suctioned from the mouth can be used for graft or bones harvested by bone banks and cadaver bone fragments can also be a safe source for bone donation.
Learn More About Bone Grafting
Jawbone deterioration where the tooth socket once was is caused when you lose teeth and do not replace them. This makes it difficult and in some cases impossible to get dental implants or dentures later on. You might not have had the funds for restorative surgery at the time of extraction, but you may have the money now.
We can give you good news by performing a process called ridge augmentation in order to restore bone structure needed for restorative procedure such as dental implants. This process involves lifting the gum from the ridge in order to expose the area of the bone which is defective. A bone like structure is then used by the dentist to fill the defected area.
This procedure not only increases the chance of success with implants, but also improves the appearance of the mouth. With the help of ridge augmentation, your implants can last for years.
Excessive force can be placed on your remaining teeth due to loss of posterior teeth. Dental implants and crown can fortunately help you replace these missing teeth. Although position of the sinus in the upper posterior area may be too low in order for proper placement of dental implants.
The sinus floor however can be repositioned creating ample space to properly place an implant through a simple procedure. Grafting materials can be used to encourage quick bone growth into the area, and stabilize dental implants. The grafting material is replaced with you own bone as it grows into the area.
Even simpler procedures can be utilized under certain conditions. The bone remaining under the sinus floor can be gently “pushed up” lifting the floor of the “dropped” sinus. After this, bone replacement materials can be placed beneath the lifted bone. As your body grows new bone into this area, the bone materials are once again replaced.
Sinus augmentation studies report over 95% success in the procedure and they are highly predictable. After sinus augmentation are successfully healed, which can take six to ten months, implants can be placed in predictable and successful manner. A second sinus augmentation procedure can also be done at the time of implant placement if the sinus augmentation procedure does not result in enough bone for implant placement.
Learn More About Sinus Lifts
It is no secret that dentists are committed to saving teeth. This is why we fill a cavity, instead of pulling the tooth.
Cavities can decay the tooth to the point where restoration is virtually impossible without a procedure called crown lengthening. Crown lengthening is a routine surgical procedure, which remodels the contour of the gum line. The procedure does not actually lengthen the crown, but rather lowers the gum line.
When there is not enough tooth structure to affix a crown, this is the only option. Sometimes a tooth has been broken below the gum line. In this instance, crown lengthening is very successful in exposing more of the tooth, so that the dentist has something to work with.
A frenulum is a piece of tissue that prevents an organ from moving. There is a frenulum that attaches your upper lip to the gums, while another connects the lower lip to the gums. A frenulum that is too short or thick, will cause problems in speech patterns and tooth misalignment. In infants, a shortened frenulum underneath the tongue will inhibit breastfeeding. When the frenulum disrupts movement, growth, or development, corrective action is necessary to resolve the situation.
A frenectomy is a minor surgical procedure that is performed in your dentist’s office. It can be performed with either a scalpel or laser and takes less than 15 minutes. Using a laser causes very little bleeding and does not require stitches. A laser also results in less postoperative discomfort and a shorter healing time. Young children and infants are put under general anesthesia for the procedure and adults have the procedure performed using local anesthesia. If your child needs a frenectomy, there is nothing to worry about. The procedure is very successful and causes minimal discomfort.
Gingival / Gum Grafting
Gingivitis and in its advanced state, periodontitis, has a profound effect on the gums. As gingivitis progresses, more and more bacteria and plaque builds up, causing the gums to stretch. The end result it large pockets that once they are cleaned out, remain on your gum line. These pockets cause the gums to recede, which aesthetically not pleasing to the eye. When the gums recede, an abnormal amount of tooth structure is exposed.
Gum grafting is the corrective procedure that restores the gum to its natural, healthy state. Using soft gum tissue from the roof of the mouth, the receded gums are grafted. The goal if the graft is to cover exposed tooth and root surfaces with grafted on oral tissue. This grafting encourages new tissue growth that will enable the gums to return to its original position around the teeth. The procedure is routine and entails a minimal amount of downtime and discomfort.
Learn More About Gum/Tissue Grafting
Periodontitis – Gum Disease/Periodontal Disease
Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is insidious. It is an infection of the gums that starts out as plaque, an opaque film on the teeth that hardens to form tartar. As tartar accumulates, it harbors bacteria that attack the soft tissue around the gums. This is the early stage of gum disease known as Gingivitis.
Left untreated, Gingivitis becomes Periodontitis which ultimately destroys the tissue surrounding your teeth AND the bone that holds your teeth in place. Except for bad breath and gums that bleed, there are very few early warning signals. The disease advances silently, often without pain, and before you know it, you are losing your teeth and you don’t know why.
Tooth loss is only the most obvious indicator of gum disease. Scientific research has discovered linkage between gum disease and stroke, heart disease, diabetes – even an increased risk for pregnant women. When your gums become diseased, your entire immune system is weakened.
In the past, fear of painful dental surgery has kept people with gum disease from seeking the care they needed. Well, those days are gone forever.
Learn More About Gum Disease
Scaling & Root Planing/Deep Cleaning
Gingivitis is a degenerative disease that left untreated, will cause significant tooth and gum deterioration. Just the word gingivitis can strike panic in a patient’s mind. The reality is that gum disease treatment is simple and performed right in your dentist’s office.
Plaque and tarter that sits on the teeth provides an environment, which allows bacteria to thrive and multiply. The bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed. The condition becomes more noticeable when you brush your teeth or sometimes when you eat. These are signs of the early stage of gingivitis (gum disease). Gingivitis is easily treated by having the hygienist scaling and polishing the teeth, also known as deep cleaning.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will progress and the roots will need a planing. The difference between scaling and root planing is simple. Scaling is the removal of the dental tartar from the tooth surface Root planing is the process of smoothing the root surfaces and removing the infected tooth structure.
As a non-surgical procedure, scaling and planing is performed without any anesthesia, in the dentist’s office. While the procedure is usually painless, advanced stages of gingivitis may make it necessary to numb the area for complete comfort. Deep scaling and root planing is usually broken down into one section of the mouth per appointment. This allows for adequate healing time, and reduces the time for each appointment.
Learn More About Deep Cleaning/Scaling & Root Planing
Soft Tissue Graft
Soft tissue grafts are used when significant gum recession has occurred in a particular area. Changes in oral hygiene routine to better take care of your teeth and gums can usually fix slight gum recessions. However, when the gingiva recedes further, you are exposed to greater risk for infection and bacterial penetration. Receding gums can make you more sensitive to hot and cold foods. In the case that the gum recedes enough to expose the root, it can cause more serious problems as the root is softer than enamel, hence making it more vulnerable to bacteria and plaque.
Soft tissue grafts can be used to restore proper gum level and functionality. This procedure is very predictable and has a high success rate and can be performed by removing soft tissue from the roof of the mouth or repositioning healthy gum tissue from adjacent teeth. It is advised that this procedure is performed before more serious problems develop and periodontal surgery is needed.
Learn More About Tissue Grafts
Do you wake in the morning with sore jaws?
When you bite, do you feel like your jaw is lopsided? If so, then you may need an occlusal adjustment.
An occlusal adjustment corrects the alignment of the bite, that is a result of loose, shifting, crowded, or missing teeth. The result is an evenly distributed bite that eliminates irregular pressure on one side of the mouth. Once your bite is adjusted, your teeth will meet properly.
Occlusal adjustment causes minimal pain, and only a little discomfort. The adjustment is made by using a dental drill using a fine filing stone. In addition to the actual adjustment, removal mouthpieces are also utilized, to protect the tooth surface, and relax the jaw muscles once the adjustment is completed.
Who is a good candidate for an occlusal adjustment? Patients with loose or shifting teeth will many times not meet correctly. Patients, who grind or clench their teeth, will have an uneven bite and pressure distribution in the mouth, which is also corrected through an occlusal adjustment. Sometimes tooth sensitivity can be corrected through an occlusal adjustment as the treatment reduces pressure on the sensitive tooth.
New technology allows dentists to accurately identify the areas, which need adjustments. The dentist utilizes a computer scan of the mouth, which records hundreds of bite registrations per minute, and notes even the slightest irregularity. That data allows the dentist to make only the adjustments that are absolutely necessary, which ensures a well aligned bite and minimal tooth wear.
Periodontal Splinting (Weak Teeth)
Loose teeth are uncomfortable, especially when you try to eat food or chew gum. The feeling of the tooth pulling away from the gum is enough to send chills down your spine. It seems like an eternity, waiting for either the tooth to become loose enough to be extracted or strong enough to no longer be a problem.
Teeth become loose because of lost gum tissue, injury, orthodontic treatment, or pressure caused by tooth misalignment. A new technique called periodontal splinting attaches weak teeth together, turning them into a single unit that is stable and stronger than the single teeth by themselves. The procedure is most commonly performed on the front teeth. The procedure is as simple as using composite material to attach, or splint, the loose teeth to the adjoining stable teeth. Tooth splinting is a common procedure that has gained popularity due to its effectiveness.
Life is too short to live with loose teeth.
Osseous Surgery / Pocket Reduction
Sometimes the effects of periodontal disease create permanent changes in the tooth and gum structure that will cause issues in the future. Enlarged gum pockets between the tooth and the gum line are common after having advanced gum disease. Sometimes these gaps are cosmetic in nature, and affect the appearance of the gums.
More commonly, the gaps put the teeth at future risk for tooth and gum disease, as they are just one more place that plaque and bacteria can collect. Pocket reduction surgery is designed to thwart the after effects of periodontal disease and restore your mouth to a healthy state.
The goal of periodontal surgery to gain access to the tooth root and to clean the damaged areas. Once the dentist can visually see the damage, it can be removed completely. Removing the plaque and decayed gum tissue leaves a pocket between the gum and the tooth. Sometimes the gum returns to its original position, but still the pocket is present. The pocket requires more frequent cleanings as the patient is unable to get to the pockets with regular brushing and flossing.
Once the swelling from the periodontal treatment has subsided, the dentist may need to suture the gum to where the bone has resorbed. The goal is to create a space large enough so it can be reached through daily oral hygiene, but small enough that it is not a breeding ground for plaque and bacteria.
Cosmetic Periodontal Surgery
Your smile is the first thing someone notices about you. People form their first impressions based on the appearance of your smile. There was a time when, unless you made allot of money or were born with perfect teeth, you had to live with your smile.
Today, a wide range of cosmetic procedures is available to the average citizen, at a cost they can afford. If you have a gummy smile, uneven gum line or elongated teeth, cosmetic periodontal surgery is for you.
Cosmetic periodontal surgery sculpts the gum line so that it is even and in proportion to the amount of exposed tooth versus gum. This procedure removes the excess gum and exposes more of the tooth crown. If your gums have receded, and your teeth appear overly long, then soft tissue grafts can extend the gum line to create an aesthetic balance. The grafts also reduce the gum pockets that are prone to future periodontal disease.
If you are unhappy with your smile, give us a call to discuss your options. After all, you only have one chance to make a first impression
Osseous Grafting / Guided Tissue Regeneration
Osseous surgery is a procedure that reshapes the bone which holds your teeth in place. Osseous surgery commonly treats periodontitis. Patients with periodontitis experience defects in the bone around their teeth. The osseous surgery removes those defects.
Prior to the surgery, the patient undergoes a periodontal treatment that consists or scaling and root planing. A local anesthetic is administered to minimize the pain. Once the roots are cleaned, the dentist uses a drill and sharp dental tool to reshape the bone surrounding the teeth.
Depending on the extent of the defects, the deformed bone is removed, and the rest is shaped. Bone grafting material is used where the defects are too large to be treated with only reshaping. Once the bones are back to their original state, the gums are stitched back into place.
Osseous Grafting is a routine procedure, with a high success rate.
Learn More About Periodontal Disease & It’s Treatment By Reading Our Blog Post & Q&As linked below:
If you’re suffering from gum disease or are at risk of losing a tooth our expert periodontists can help. Give us a call at 703-291-4666 or contact us to learn more!