Periodontics on the Upper West Side
Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that focuses on the structures that support the teeth. If the gums, jawbone, or soft tissue become infected or damaged, periodontal procedures can help. In addition, periodontics can fix certain cosmetic problems with your smile, and can prepare your mouth to receive dental implants.
Laser Periodontal Surgery
While brushing and flossing are the first line of defense against tooth decay and gum disease, regular professional cleanings are also required. When these cleanings are skipped, it is common for gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, to occur. This is the first stage of gum disease. Scaling and root planing, a form of deeper professional cleaning, can clean out the pockets that develop between the teeth and gums, allowing gingivitis to heal.
As gum disease progresses to periodontitis, however, deeper pockets develop. At this point, surgical intervention is required. Laser periodontal surgery allows us to avoid traditional surgery and sutures, removing the bacteria and diseased tissue and sealing the pockets with minimal trauma. It is far less uncomfortable than traditional gum surgery, and healing time is significantly reduced.
If gum disease causes the gums to recede enough that the tooth roots are exposed, gum grafting can help. We will remove tissue from the roof of the mouth or the nearby gums and attach it to the area that needs repair.
When a tooth is lost or extracted, the jawbone begins to resorb into the body. This natural process can eventually create a sunken, hollow look. It can also make it difficult to place dental implants. Bone grafting can reverse bone loss, allowing proper support for dental implants and filling out the face to promote a younger appearance. Bone can be harvested from elsewhere in the body, or a synthetic material may be used.
Crown lengthening is a cosmetic procedure used to minimize a gummy smile. We will remove gum tissue and/or bone to expose more of the tooth, balancing the appearance of your smile.
If a tooth extraction leaves behind a weakened spot, we can place regenerative bone grafting material in the socket. This encourages your body to regenerate the bone that was previously supporting the tooth.
Ridge preservation is designed to encourage your body to maintain a strong dental ridge after extractions or when bone is lost from around the existing teeth. We will fold back the gum tissue and remove all bacteria, and then use a bone graft, a special membrane, or a tissue-stimulating protein to enhance the ridge.
Call 212-222-5225 to schedule your first appointment with the dentists at Smiles on the Upper West Side.
Frequently Asked Questions About Periodontics
What does a periodontist do for receding gums?
If your gums are receding, our first step is to identify the cause. When gum recession is caused by periodontal disease, for example, we need to treat the active infection before we address your receding gums. Gum grafting can be used to restore the gum tissue that has been lost, improving the appearance of your smile and eliminating painful tooth sensitivity.
Can gum tissue grow back?
No, gum tissue cannot grow back once it is lost, but it can be restored with a gum grafting procedure.
Can you reverse periodontitis?
When periodontitis is treated in its earliest stages, it can be reversed. In later stages, we can halt the active infection, but you may have permanent damage to your teeth and gums, including gum recession and tooth loss. Treating gum disease at this stage doesn’t reverse the damage, but the good news is that there are dental and periodontal procedures that can restore your smile and your self-confidence.
Does laser treatment for gum disease work?
Yes, laser treatment for gum disease is just as effective as conventional treatment. Laser treatment is also less painful, less invasive, and doesn’t involve incisions or sutures, which means recovery is faster and easier. For these reasons and more, we’re excited to be able to offer laser periodontal surgery to our patients.
How can I make my gums healthy again?
If you have gum disease, treating the infection is our first priority. Scaling and root planing—a professional deep cleaning that goes below the gumline—is often all that is needed to reverse gum disease, but laser periodontal surgery may be needed in more advanced cases. Once your infection is resolved, we will have you start a periodontal maintenance program to restore and maintain the health of your gums. It’s important that you follow our instructions and practice good oral hygiene to keep your gum disease from recurring.
What is the purpose of crown lengthening?
Crown lengthening is a procedure that trims away excess gum tissue from one or more teeth. Sometimes this is needed in order to place a dental crown; other times, crown lengthening is done solely for aesthetic reasons—to correct a “gummy” smile or improve the symmetry of the gums.
Are dental bone grafts painful?
No, bone grafting is not painful. Before your procedure, we use local anesthetic injections to ensure that you won’t feel any pain while we work. After the procedure, you may have some tenderness at the surgical site, but this is typically mild and can be treated with cold compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers.
If you are searching for a periodontist on the Upper West Side, call 212-222-5225 to schedule an appointment.