Periodontal care includes the treatments and procedures that focus on the gums and other tissues that surround and support healthy teeth. Advanced gum disease treatment is a major part of what periodontists do, but they also perform gum and root surgeries, gum recontouring, and bone reshaping to keep your teeth healthy “from the bottom up.” At First Impressions Dental Care, Dr. Rick Sodergren and Dr. Deborah Gur-Arie provide comprehensive periodontal care for patients throughout the Renton, Washington, area. Each treatment plan is focused on the patient’s underlying needs to help them enjoy optimal oral health at every age.
Periodontics is a subspecialty of dentistry focused on the structures that support and surround the teeth, including the gums, jawbones, and supportive ligaments. A dentist with experience in periodontal care treats issues that affect these structures and may also perform dental implant procedures. Much of periodontics is focused on the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease (or gum disease).
Gum flap surgery is performed in the advanced stages of periodontal disease to provide access to the lower portions of the tooth. During the procedure, the doctor makes an incision in the gum and gently folds the gum back to expose the root so the area around it can be cleaned. Then the gum tissue is placed back in position and sutured.
Gum graft surgery uses tiny pieces of gum tissue taken from elsewhere in your mouth to rebuild areas where periodontal disease has caused the gums to recede. Over time, the grafts will fuse with your gums and adhere to the tooth surface, making it difficult for bacteria to invade the root pockets where they can cause root weakening and tooth loss.
An apicoectomy is a procedure that treats infections at or near the tip of the tooth root (also called the apex of the root). During the procedure, the doctor will make an incision in the gum to access the tooth root. The damaged or infected tip will be removed and sealed and the entire area will be cleaned before the incision is sutured closed. Apicoectomies are performed on teeth that become reinfected after a root canal procedure.
Advanced periodontal disease (or periodontitis) is treated with deep-cleaning techniques called root planing and scaling. These techniques use special instruments to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria on the lower portions of the tooth surfaces. They also smooth the root surfaces to prevent bacteria from clinging to the roots. Gel antibiotics may be applied during root planing and scaling to destroy bacteria that are difficult to reach.