Rebuilding Lost Bone & Gum Structure
Gum (periodontal) disease is an infection that attacks the tissues supporting the teeth. Typically caused by poor oral hygiene habits that allow plaque to accumulate and harden on the teeth, it eventually makes its way to the gums.
Left untreated, gum disease can lead to a variety of oral health issues including inflamed and bleeding gums, a receding gum line, bacteria-filled pockets between the teeth and gums, and eventual bone loss.
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. If you are diagnosed with a more advanced form of gum disease, more invasive surgical treatments may be required, such as bone grafting or gum grafting.
Your dentist in Ottawa can perform a dental bone graft to add density and volume to areas in your jaw affected by bone loss. For gum recession, gum graft surgery may be recommended to cover tooth roots. These regenerative surgical procedures are fairly common and are completed to recreate and regrow bone and soft supporting tissues that have been lost due to gum disease.
Bone Grafting Procedures
If you are diagnosed with a more advanced form of gum disease, a bone graft may be required to reverse it. Here's what you can expect before, during and after the procedure:
Preparing for Surgery
Before your surgery, your dentist will have performed basic scaling and root planing treatment. Take care of your teeth during this stage and maintain a basic at-home dental hygiene routine.
Before a bone and gum grafting procedure, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic to the area to numb it and prepare it for surgery.
Performing the Surgery
This surgery is performed to trigger the body to recreate the bone and other structures that help attach a tooth to a jaw.
Before the surgery begins, the dentist will separate the gums from your teeth to obtain access to the roots and bone.
Once the roots are thoroughly cleaned, your dentist will fill the holes in the bones (created by periodontal disease) with grafting material. This commonly consists of your own bone, cow bone, synthetic glass or cadaver bone. Your own bone is typically the best option.
Next, a physical barrier will be used to fill in this area.
During early stages of healing, the physical barrier is used to cover the grafting material to avoid exposure and to help the area heal faster. They also help prevent the gums from growing into the bony defect.
Once the graft is in place, the gums will be put back in place over the treated site. In some cases, a periodontal dressing or pack that looks like a bandage may be used to cover the site.
Over the next six to nine months, your body will play its own role by filling the area in with new bone and soft tissue, reattaching the tooth to your jaw.
In order to relieve some of the post-surgical pain, you will be prescribed medication after the surgery. Paying attention to and following your dentist's instructions is very important.
Maintaining exceptional at-home dental hygiene will be vitally important to your healing process. Be sure not to disturb the surgical site. Your dentist will usually prescribe a mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine after periodontal surgery, as this will slow plaque growth and kill bacteria.
You may experience swelling and bleeding after surgery. Bleeding can indicate infection. If you experience excessive pain or bleeding and infection, contact your dentist to prevent further complications.
Gum Grafting Procedures
Gum recession happens when your gum tissue begins to pull back from the teeth, exposing the tooth root. Treating gum recession is important to protect your teeth. Left untreated, your tooth roots become exposed and more susceptible to decay, eventually resulting in tooth loss.
In gum grafting procedures, the patient’s own tissue is often used, usually from the roof of the mouth. A very thin piece of tissue is removed and carefully placed onto the area where the gums have receded.
A gum graft can also be used to remove excess gum tissue or to reshape an uneven gum line and help improve the perceived size of the gums and teeth.