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Gum Disease Treatment
Red, swollen gums are a red flag for one thing: gum disease. If you have the symptoms, you're not alone. More than 80% of adults have some form of gum disease. Fortunately, there are many effective and pain-free gum disease treatments. For gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, treatment typically involves a thorough dental cleaning, followed by daily brushing and flossing. Advanced gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, requires scaling and root planing to remove stubborn deposits below the gum line. Laser gum surgery, a new alternative to scaling and root planing, uses beams of high-speed light to remove plaque and tartar buildup. If non-surgical methods of gum disease treatment are ineffective, a gingivectomy, or periodontal surgery, may be necessary.
Soft Tissue Grafts/Gum Recession
Receding gums are a sign of two things: gum disease or overly aggressive brushing. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even heart disease. For early stages of gum disease, we can use a non-surgical scaling and root planing (SRP) treatment to get your gums healthy again. Excessive gum recession, however, sometimes requires a surgical treatment called a gum graft. Gum grafts may also be used to correct a high frenum attachment. The frenum is the muscle between the upper or lower front teeth; if it pulls on the gum margin, recession could result. Orthodontic therapies can also stretch the gum line and cause the gums to recede. In all cases, gum grafts are an excellent way to protect the underlying bone and prevent the gums from receding further.
Most people have heard the term dental crown before. But fewer know what crown lengthening is or why you'd need it. Yet dental crown lengthening is often a required step in preparing your tooth for a dental crown.
Dental crown lengthening involves the removal of gum tissue, bone or both to expose more of a tooth's structure. Why would you need it? You might have broken a tooth at the gum line. Or you might just have a decayed tooth. Sometimes after your dentist removes the tooth decay, there isn't enough tooth structure left above the gum line to support a dental crown (or even a large tooth filling). Without enough structure to grab on to, ill-fitting dental crowns may cause chronic inflammation and irritation. Even worse, tooth decay may get in under the dental crown, creating the need for more dental treatment. You might even lose the tooth completely.
Although less common, crown lengthening may also be used cosmetically to treat what's called a "gummy smile." When an unusually large amount of gum tissue shows around the upper teeth, crown lengthening might help. Your dentist can expose more of your teeth, then sculpt your gum line to create the look you want.