Decay can frequently be found below the gum line. In order to gain access to the decay, it is necessary to reduce some of the bone surrounding the area of decay so the gum tissue can be positioned either higher up or lower down on the tooth making access to repair decay feasible. In other circumstances, the tooth may fracture below the gum line. Often the tooth requires a crown (cap) to cover over the fracture line. In order for the crown to fit over the fracture line, it is necessary to raise or lower the gum and reshape the bone accordingly so that the fracture line now becomes visible above the gum. The tooth is now ready for a crown (cap). When smiling, ideally there should be a display of upper teeth and a slight amount of gum displayed as well. In many circumstances there is an excessive amount of gum displayed (this is known as a gummy smile). In order to reduce the gum display so that there can be an ideal amount of tooth and gum showing, it is necessary to move both the gum and bone higher up on the teeth. The bone is gently sculpted to create room for the gum tissue to be ideally positioned. Hence the correct proportions of the teeth and gum are now visible.
If a patient has an excess amount of tissue that connects the lower and upper lips to the jaw and gum line, a frenectomy procedure is performed to remove the excess tissue. A frenectomy is either performed inside the middle of the upper lip, which is called a labial frenectomy, or under the tongue, called a lingual frenectomy. Frenectomy is a very common dental procedure in the dental world and is performed both on children and adults.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums (6 millimeters or deeper) are present, it is difficult for a dentist to thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar. Gum flap surgery is a procedure where the gum flap is lifted away from the tooth. Diseased tissue and sometimes bone is removed. The rough surfaces of the tooth are then smoothed by root planing. The area is medicated and the gum flap is replaced and sutured allowing the bone and gum tissue to heal. One of the goals of gum flap surgery is to reduce the depth of the periodontal pockets to make them easier to keep clean.
A frequent periodontal condition is known as gum recession. This means the existing gum tissue has receded up or down the root of the tooth exposing various amounts of the root. Root exposure can create root sensitivity especially to hot and cold, an increased potential for root decay, and/or esthetic concerns. Gum grafting procedures are the treatment of choice to prevent the recession from continuing further. There are many different types of recession and hence many different types of gum grafting. Some are aimed at covering the root of the tooth and other procedures are focused on providing an excellent new zone of gum tissue to halt the recession.
Thomas Hoover, DDS PA would love to meet you and your family to provide you with the periodontal dental care you need and give you all the smiles you deserve at our St. Louis Park periodontics office!