If you have special needs for your gums, your dentist will refer you to a periodontist. The periodontist will examine your gums and teeth, and based on that exam determine if you need gum surgery.
A common reason someone needs gum surgery is the damage caused by periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, can erode away the gums and cause them to recede. When the gums recede, more of the tooth is exposed, including the root. Not only can this be a problem cosmetically, it also causes tooth sensitivity and exposes the tooth to further damage. For receding gums, the periodontist can perform a gum graft. Gum grafts may also be used in conjunction with dental implants to give the implant a better foundation. The types of gum grafts are the pedicle graft, free gingival graft, and the connective-tissue graft. The type of gum graft performed is based on each patient’s individual needs.
Pocket reduction is performed on patients with deep pockets around the teeth that have accumulated harmful bacteria within the pockets. This bacteria is virtually impossible to get to with at home brushing and flossing. Your periodontist will pull the gums away from the teeth to thoroughly clean the pockets out. Once the pockets are free from bacteria and debris, the gums are then sewn close to the teeth to reduce the size of the pocket. The snug fit of the gums against the teeth will prevent more bacteria from building up around the teeth and protect against tooth decay.
Crown lengthening surgery is performed on patients with excess gum tissue surrounding the teeth. It can be both cosmetic and medically necessary depending on the patient. For cosmetic patients, the goal of the surgery is to reduce the amount of gum tissue surrounding the teeth to give the teeth a longer appearance. For adults who feel their teeth are smaller than average, this can give them more confidence in their smile. Crown lengthening is also performed on patients with gum disease or broken teeth. If the gums cover too much of the tooth, the periodontist must remove some of the gums to properly treat the tooth.
For patients who have advanced bone deterioration below the gum line, regeneration is often necessary. The goal of regeneration is to restore the bone, gum, and teeth to as close to its natural state as possible. Regeneration can involve one or all of the following procedures: bone grafting, gum grafting, inserting membranes, and/or protein that encourage tissue regeneration. Surprisingly, our bodies have the ability to regenerate tissue with a little help from these procedures. Along with dental implants for missing teeth, regeneration can give you back your healthy smile.