Gum & Jawbone Corrective Treatments
The gums and jawbone may require corrective treatment due to trauma, birth defects, and gum disease. These problems can disfigure the gums and teeth, giving an unpleasant appearance. Cosmetic procedures are available that can correct these problems and restore a pleasant appearance.
Crown lengthening (gum lift): This is performed to expose more of the tooth prior to restorative surgery or to correct a “gummy” smile. Sometimes the teeth appear short and stubby and are partly covered by gum tissue due to gingivitis or genetics. Gum tissue can be removed to reshape the gums and expose more of the natural tooth length. This is also performed to create a more attractive gumline for crowns and other restorative procedures.
Gum grafts: Gum grafts are performed to restore symmetry to the gumline after treatment for periodontal disease or to correct a crooked smile. Periodontal disease causes gum recession making the smile look “toothy”. During a gum graft a small strip of tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and stitched to the gum tissue at the recession site.
Pocket reduction surgery: The purpose of gum reduction surgery is to clean the root surfaces of the teeth beneath the gum line. During this procedure the gum is gently separated away from the tooth and then tartar, plaque, and bacteria are removed. An antibiotic agent may be applied to the area to destroy bacteria, soothe irritation, and help the gum tissues to heal. This is a very effective way to restore healthy gums and bone.
Sinus augmentation: Sinus augmentation is generally performed before placing dental implants in order to ensure that the prosthetic teeth are firmly attached to bone. A successful implant depends on the quality and quantity of the bone to which it will be attached. If the jawbone has been injured or has receded, a sinus augmentation will elevate the sinus floor to allow new bone to form. This is done by making a small incision in the bone, then packing the underlying space with grafting material. The incision is sutured closed; once it has healed the implant can be placed.
Ridge modification: Ridge modification procedures treat jawbone defects that occur due to trauma, gum disease, or birth defects. Indentations in the jaw make it difficult to place dental implants. During the ridge modification process the gum is pulled away from the bone to expose the defect. The defect is then filled with bone graft material and then sutured closed. Once it is healed implants can be placed where necessary.
Bone grafts: There are many reasons that a bone graft may be necessary. Grafting thickens the jawbone which allows successful placement of implants. Grafts can also elevate the sinus floor, fill craters or defects in the jawbone, or allow for successful nerve repositioning. Grafting material may be harvested from the pelvis or lower jaw, or made synthetically. Most bone grafts involve making a small opening in the jawbone, packing it with grafting material, then suturing it closed. Restorative procedures are performed once the graft has healed.