Why periodontal (gum) treatment?
Your teeth are like a house - what you see are the teeth (the house) and what you do not see is the root (the foundation). Normal gums hug around our teeth very firmly but diseased gums do not attach to our teeth due to inflammation. This damages the foundation of our teeth. A house will fail if its foundation is weakened, and similarly, teeth will fail if the root is weakened by gum disease. Gum treatment can control this disease process.
What is periodontal (gum) treatment?
Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the treatment of gum diseases and the other structures around the teeth and jaw bones. If such a condition is not treated, a person could suffer tooth loss and loss of the jaw bone.
Some common procedures covered under gum treatment include
- scaling and root planing (dental cleaning)
- gum surgery
- crown lengthening
- dental implants and
- gum and bone grafts
Who needs this treatment?
Normal teeth require a good professional cleaning every three to six months to remove calculus or tartar. In some countries, calculus and tartar are also known as ‘dental stones'. Given a long period of time, calculus will cause the gum to separate from the teeth and lead to teeth loss if left untreated.
What does the procedure involve?
Scaling refers to careful cleaning of the teeth and gums to remove plaque and tartar. Everyone should have a good professional dental cleaning every three to six months.
Root Planing is required when tartar (calculus) is deeply entrenched and there is a separation of gums from the teeth. This is the beginning of tooth loss if left untreated. Local anaesthetic is commonly used to numb-up sections of the gums for thorough cleaning, especially when there is a significant separation of gums from the teeth (pockets) around roots.
Gum (Periodontal) Surgery is recommended when there is a significant separation between the gum and the teeth (deep pockets). Such deep pockets are difficult to access for thorough removal of calculus and disinfection. In this procedure, the gums are carefully reflected aside to reveal the true extent of infected calculus. Sometimes, the shape of the bone around the infected teeth are shaped to speed-up healing. In other cases, the bone and periodontal (gum) tissues can be re-created (Guided Tissue Regeneration or commonly known as GTR).
Crown Lengthening refers to a meticulous procedure to aid the proper placement of restorations on teeth. For example, when a tooth is too “short” to support a functional crown, the gum and bone is shaped to enhance the restoration placement. Similarly, when dental decay extends too far below the gum line, crown lengthening procedures will help to facilitate the placement of dental fillings.
Dental Implants are hi-tech titanium surgical “screws” that are placed in the jaw bone to support porcelain teeth replacement teeth. They take the place of missing / extracted teeth. More information on Dental Implants.
Gum and Bone Grafting repair damaged gums and jaw bone when the gums around the teeth have receded, e.g., through excessive-brushing. Bone grafting can also enhance areas of deficient bone to facilitate implant placement. More information on Dental Implants.
How much time before the whole process is completed?
The simpler procedures take about 30 minutes. More complex or extensive ones take up to two hours. Depending on the severity of the gum problems, occasionally two or more visits are required.
When scaling and root planing is followed by periodontal surgery, then the process can be spread out over several weeks. Healing is a time dependant process. We simply have to allow sufficient time for healing. The general rule is the more complicated the procedure, the more healing time is needed.
When will I be able to resume daily activities?
Our patients commonly tell us that they return to 99% of normal daily activities within a few hours after our procedure. This usually means that the person can have a reasonably normal dinner, go to work on the same day, see friends, do business, talk on the phone and go shopping. The less invasive procedures allow you to resume normal activities rapidly. After a more extensive surgery, however, some rest would be nice too.
Will I be in pain?
Pain after a procedure is uncommon nowadays. Our experience shows that pain occuring after a procedure is usually a result of pre-existing infection. Pain can be minimized with medication before and after the procedure. It is crucial to take the prescribed medications on time and on schedule. Again, 99% of our patients return to normal daily activities within a few hours after their procedures.
How effective is periodontal treatment in a long run?
Certain procedures such as dental implants and crown-lengthening are definitive and end with placement of a functional dental restoration. Other procedures such as scaling and root planing should be continued every three to six months to maintain healthy gums.