Periodontal Treatment: Periodontist in Long Beach

Some patients think of “tranditional periodontal therapy” as surgery.  However, the American Academy of Periodontology treatment guidelines stress that periodontal halth should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner.  This is often accomplished through non-surgical treatments.  For additional information, see the American Academy of Periodontology by clicking here.

Additionally, Dr. Kaufman is licensed by the State of California to perform IV sedation.  This can greatly enhance your comfort during your implant or periodontal procedure.

Periodontal Therapy: Non-surgical options 
Non-surgical therapy removes plaque and tartar by controlling the growth of harmful bacteria and by treating conditions that encourage gum disease.  This type of treatment may be all that is needed, especially if periodontal disease is caught early.  Non-surgical options include:

Scaling and root planing
Scaling and root planing are usually the first mode of treatment recommended for most patients.  Scaling is a type of cleaning that removes plaque and tartar from the teeth at and slightly below the gum line.  Root planing is a procedure requiring sophisticated instruments that not only remove tartar, but also assist in visualizing hidden areas of infection.  Root planing smooths the root surfaces, so the supportive tissues can better reattach to the tooth surface.  Local anesthesia may be used because this procedure goes more in-depth than a regular cleaning with which you may be familiar.

Most periodontists agree that after scaling and root planing and oral hygiene instruction, many patients do not require any further active treatment, including surgical therapy.

Since bacteria cause periodontal disease, patients may need antibiotics.  These may be in pill form or may be applied directly to the infected area in the form of a gel or powder.  These antibiotics are released to the infected area over time.  New products are available that may be recommended as part of your periodontal therapy to help your body eliminate the infection or decrease its negative effects.  An antibacterial mouth rinse may also be prescribed to help control plaque.

Bite Correction 
An imbalanced bite may increase bone destruction.  Dr. Kaufman may give you a biteguard—a removable device that fits over upper or lower teeth—to protect teeth surfaces and relax tense jaw muscles.  Alternatively, your bite may be adjusted so that your teeth meet properly and function better.  Teeth that do not fit together properly can increase the rate of progression of periodontal diseases and contribute to other health problems.  Teeth clenching or grinding may require an occlusal adjustment to create a bite that is functional and healthy.

Periodontal Therapy: Surgical options
Surgical therapy on the gums treats infection that is too advanced and areas that are too deep to reach by scaling and root planing alone. More extensive treatment is needed when periodontal disease has advanced to the point where supportive tissue has been destroyed. These procedures reshape or restore lost bone and ligament, increasing the chance of saving teeth that otherwise would have been lost.

Flap Surgery
Dr. Kaufman gently separates the gum from the tooth, creating a “flap” and access to the infected area.  This allows the periodontist to remove deep deposits of plaque and tartar.  It also reduces the size of the area where bacteria can grow.  Little or no gum tissue is removed.

Guided Tissue Regeneration

This procedure helps keep unwanted tissue away from the tooth and bone, allowing ligament fibers to regrow and bone to reform so that the tooth is better supported.  A special membrane is inserted between the gum and bone and dissolves itself when the procedure is complete.

Bone Graft
Tiny fragments of either your bone or synthetic bone grafting materials are placed into areas of lost bone.  These grafts act as a platform on which bone can regrow, restoring stability to your teeth.

Soft Tissue Graft
Thin, recessed gums reveal tooth roots, causing sensitivity and uneven gum line.  Soft tissue is added to reinforced thin gums or to fill in areas where gums have receded.  Grafted tissue is glued in place over the affected area.  This helps prevent further recession and improves appearance.

Cosmetic Periodontal Therapy
If you are unhappy with appearance of your teeth, they can be greatly improved by a combination of periodontal procedures.

Yellow, Dark, and/or Stained Teeth
As you age, teeth get darker and/or yellower from the accumulated years of exposure to foods.   Stains occur to due consumption of coffee, tea, red wine, soda and tobacco.  Foods high in acid penetrate the protective covering of the tooth, turning it yellow.  Temperature changes cause expansion and contraction, allowing for substances to penetrate the tooth surface.  Discolored teeth can be treated with over-the-counter preparations like whitening toothpaste and bleaching kits or periodontist-supervised bleaching.

Periodontist-supervised bleaching consists of two basic methods: chairside bleaching and nightguard bleaching.  Chairside bleaching takes place in the office.  Bleaching chemicals are applied directly to the teeth and you and your periodontist will decide what degree of whiteness is appropriate for you.  Nightguard bleaching occurs at home and requires a mouthpiece and bleaching gel.  A mouthpiece will be custom-fitted to you.

Short Teeth 
If your teeth appear short, they may actually be the proper length.  The teeth may be covered by too much gum tissue.  Dr. Kaufman can correct this by performing a crown lengthening, a periodontal plastic surgery procedure.  The excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth, creating a beautiful smile.

Unattractive Tooth Roots
This can be treated with a soft tissue graft.  This procedure reduces gum recession and protects the roots from decay and eventual loss.

Tooth loss causes the jaw bone to recede and can lead to an unnatural looking indentation in your gums and jaw, which is a sign of aging.  Spaces may remain under and between your replacement teeth, giving them an unnatural look.  This can be corrected with a combination of bone grafting and dental implants.  Bone grafting can correct the hole in the jaw bone and minimize gum and bone collapse.

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