Periodontal Surgery, San Antonio, TX
Cosmetic Periodontal Surgery
These procedures are a predictable way to cover unsightly, sensitive or exposed root surfaces and to prevent future gum recession. If you are unhappy with the appearance of short unsightly teeth this can be greatly improved by a combination of periodontal procedures by Dr. Stalker and cosmetic dentistry by your dentist.
Although your teeth appear short, they may actually be the proper length. The teeth may be covered with too much gum tissue. We can correct this by performing the periodontal plastic surgery procedure, crown lengthening.
During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to more than one tooth, to even your gum line, and to create a beautiful smile.
Another cosmetic procedure is the soft tissue graft. It is used to cover unattractive tooth roots, reduce gum recession and protect the roots from decay and eventual loss.
Tooth loss causes the jawbone to recede and can lead to an unnatural looking indentation in your gums and jaw, an appearance of a general aging. The original look of your mouth may not be recaptured because of spaces remaining under and between replacement teeth. They may appear too long compared to nearby teeth.
Bone grafting following tooth loss can preserve the socket/ridge and minimize gum and bone collapse. There is less shrinkage and a more esthetic tooth replacement for either an implant crown or fixed bridge around the replacement teeth.
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Gum Grafting Procedures
(Subepithelial connective tissue grafts)
When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When gum recession is a problem, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option.
When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost.
In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance to the gum and tooth. Gum recession, when significant, can predispose to worsening recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries and root gouging.
A gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth, or gently moved over from adjacent areas, to provide a stable band of attached gingiva around the tooth. The gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover the exposed portion of the root.
The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.
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Crown lengthening (or crown exposure) is required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. The edge of that restoration is deep below the gum tissue and not accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone or below the bone.
The procedure involves adjusting the levels of the gum tissue and bone around the tooth in question, to create a new gum-to–tooth relationship. This allows us to reach the edge of the restoration, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. It should also provide enough tooth structure so the new restoration will not come loose in the future. This allows you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to prevent decay and gum disease. The procedure takes approximately one hour.
When the procedure is completed, sutures and a protective “bandage” are placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. You will need to be seen in one or two weeks to remove the sutures and evaluate your healing.
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Guided Tissue Bone Regeneration
Traditionally, eliminating the gum pockets by trimming away the infected gum tissue and by re-contouring the uneven bone tissue treats gum disease. Although this is still an effective way of treating gum disease, new and more sophisticated procedures are used routinely today.
Guided Tissue Bone Regeneration "regenerates" the previously lost gum and bone tissue. Most techniques utilize membranes, which are inserted over the bone defects. Some of these membranes are bio-absorbable and some require removal. Other regenerative procedures involve the use of bioactive gels.
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Major and Minor Bone Grafting
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants.
Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and esthetic appearance.
Major Bone Grafting
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee.) Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects. Large defects are repaired using the patient’s own bone. This bone is harvested from a number of different sites depending on the size of he defect. The skull (cranium), hip (iliac crest), and lateral knee (tibia), are common donor sites. These procedures are routinely performed in an operating room and require a hospital stay.
Sinus Lift Procedure
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
There is a solution and it’s called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The dental implant surgeon enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the Sinus Augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
In severe cases, the ridge has been reabsorbed and a bone graft is placed to increase ridge height and/or width. This is a technique used to restore the lost bone dimension when the jaw ridge gets too thin to place conventional implants. In this procedure, the bony ridge of the jaw is literally expanded by mechanical means. Bone graft material can be placed and matured for a few months before placing the implant.
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Careful management of extraction sockets after tooth extraction prevents unsightly bone loss and provides a better cosmetic outcome for tooth replacement.