Treatments (cont.)

Bone Grafting

Restoring lost bone is an important function of periodontics. Bone loss can result from a number of factors, most notably periodontal disease and prolonged tooth loss. When bone tissue is lost, regardless of the reason, it will not regrow on its own. Bone loss is a problem, as it can change the shape of the face, ultimately lead to further tooth loss and render tooth replacement difficult or impossible.

To combat this problem and restore bone tissue to more favorable levels, periodontists often recommend bone grafting procedures. Common bone grafting techniques include:

  • Autogenous (bone is sourced from the patient’s body, typically the chin)
  • Allogeneic (bone samples from a bone bank or other human source are used)
  • Xenogeneic (non-human bone tissue is utilized, such as from a bovine source)

Though using one’s own bone is often preferred to reduce the incidence of bone graft rejection, many individuals and periodontists opt for grafting techniques that do not require a second surgical site for the individual.

Gum Grafting

When gum recession occurs due to periodontal disease, tobacco use, orthodontic treatment, parafunctional habits or other factors, the receded tissue will not return to a healthy, stable level without assistance. Gum recession exposes the roots of teeth to the oral environment, increasing the incidence of decay and damage to their delicate surfaces and propagating patient discomfort and tooth sensitivity. Sufficient gum tissue must be present to protect these areas.

Gum grafting techniques can replace lost tissue and restore healthy gum lines through the following methods:

  • Connective Tissue Graft (sources gum tissue from beneath a small flap created on the roof of the mouth)
  • Free Gingival Graft: (uses tissue taken directly from the roof of the mouth)
  • Pedicle Graft: (repositions existing tissue located near the tooth in deficit)
  • A periodontist will typically perform this treatment in phases, depending upon the number of areas suffering gum recession.

Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique

An innovative solution to treating gum recession, the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique (PST™) enables minimally invasive gum tissue restoration without the use of large incisions or sutures. A small, pinhole sized opening is created in the gum tissue near the area of recession, through which patented instruments are inserted to perform the procedure. Existing gum tissue is gently loosened and then positioned in a healthier location on the tooth surface. Small pieces of collagen material are applied, helping to hold the newly repositioned gum tissue in place throughout the healing phase. The benefits of PST™ are numerous, and include:

  • Minimal downtime and post-operative discomfort
  • No incisions to suture (only a small, pinhole opening is required)
  • Multiple sites treated in one visit
  • Cosmetic results of an aesthetic gum line are immediate
  • PST™ can relieve tooth sensitivity caused by exposed root surfaces and dramatically improve the appearance of the teeth, which often look “long” and dark in color near the gum line when gum recession has occurred.

    Ridge Augmentation/Preservation

    Losing a tooth or multiple teeth not only impacts the appearance and functional ability of a person, it also initiates a cascading effect within the surrounding bone. When a tooth is lost, the bone tissue around the tooth socket immediately begins a deterioration process. Gum tissue shrinks to form to the shape of the underlying bone, often causing indentations in the bony ridge (or arch) where the tooth used to be. The upper and lower bony arches help to sculpt the contours of the face, and when these structures are in deficit, facial features tend to recede or sag.

    However, the field of periodontics has an effective answer to preserving and transforming such areas for improved bone health and appearance. Ridge augmentation procedures add bone tissue and regenerative materials to build up areas where teeth have been missing for some time, restructuring the arch to resemble its previous appearance and provide necessary support to facial structures. Occurring at the time of tooth extraction, ridge preservation enables the periodontist to add bone tissue to the tooth socket area, allowing the grafted bone to incorporate with existing tissue to maintain the original shape, structure and appearance of the gums and bone.

    Sinus Augmentation/Sinus Lift

    Replacing missing teeth with dental implants in the upper premolar and molar areas of the mouth can prove challenging, as the bone lying between these sites and the floor of the maxillary sinus cavity is often insufficient to support an implant post. The problem is further compounded if bone loss has occurred. To increase the likelihood of dental implant success, a procedure called a sinus augmentation (or sinus lift) may be recommended. A sinus lift adds bone tissue to fortify enough height and density to support an implant post, and can be performed in one of two ways:

    • The floor of the sinus cavity can be gently raised, allowing for bone tissue placement between this structure and the existing bone.
    • Bone tissue can be added to the floor of the sinus cavity, increasing the amount of bone available to support a dental implant.

    Guided Tissue Regeneration

    Bone loss can be problematic for a number of reasons, especially when it comes to replacing missing teeth with dental implants, or any situation that requires increased bone volume or density. Grafting treatment is often necessary to create bone levels sufficient to support an implant or otherwise build up areas of bone loss. Such treatment may be enhanced or even replaced when biological membranes are utilized in conjunction with these procedures. Guided Tissue Regeneration (GTR) involves the use of stimulating proteins and growth factors, which help facilitate integration of the grafted sample into treatment sites or the regeneration of healthy tissue. GTR can be beneficial for tissue growth and improvement even without a grafting procedure, in certain cases.

    Visiting a Periodontist for Treatment

    Healthy teeth, gums and bone contribute to and support a healthy body. Visiting a practice dedicated to periodontics helps ensure proper, effective treatments at the hand of a skilled expert. For more information on periodontal treatments and services, contact a periodontist today.