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Gums - Periodontics

Periodontal Disease is the later stages of gum disease. This is when the bacteria infect under the gums and progresses deeper and affects the bone and tissue supporting the tooth.

Your gums may –
• Bleed when brushing or flossing.
• Be red and swollen.
• Cause bad breath.
• Have pulled away from the tooth, this is called ‘Pocketing’
• Have pus in the pockets around the tooth.

The infection damages the tissue that connects the gum to the roots of the tooth. Once the tissue (both soft gum and bone) has been destroyed, the gum connection pulls away from the tooth and this forms a pocket which bacteria thrive in. If not treated, in time the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw will break down, making the teeth loose and eventually the teeth will fall out.

Periodontal disease is irreversible, but you can slow down the progression by regular visits to the Dentist and Hygienist and by improving your oral hygiene at home. The better the care, the better the result!

Periodontal treatment has various stages which combine to bring about control of the condition. Because of the irreversible bone damage, good control is often the best we can achieve.

Treatment is very much driven by the results or more significantly, lack of results. If an area fails to stabilise, further work needs to establish why and use techniques to help.

Periodontal treatment starts with simple curettage, where the inside of the gum pocket is cleaned out along with the root surface. Healing, which is encouraged by this treatment, helps bring the condition under more control. More invasive surgery called “flap surgery” is for more advanced causes. This is surgical exposure of the roots by pealing the gum back to check underneath. It sounds gruesome but fortunately, is not as bad in reality.

Grafting - Tissue Repositioning

Because of the loss of tissue, some form of grafting can be required to replace the loss. Various tissue grafting techniques are used to replace lost gum and bone. Gingivoplasty is a soft tissue graft (Free gingival graft) and bone grafting is used to bulk up the bone and create more bone.

Elective surgery – apically repositioned flap procedure. This is for altering the shape and position of the gums, usually for a better appearance. Gaining more grip over the remaining tooth when crowning is another consideration.

All these treatments are followed up with regular hygienist recalls to keep an eye on things. Plaque removal is monitored by the Hygienist.
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Harley Dentistry
344 Otumoetai Road
Otumoetai, Tauranga  3110
Phone: (07) 576-3104
New patients: (07) 576-3109
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