Who Should Place My Dental Implant?
Periodontists receive 3 years of post-graduate training for treatment of gum disease, various gingival procedures (functional and cosmetic), and dental implants for teeth replacement. Periodontists often work along with general dentists or prosthodontists for long term success for dental implants. While many recognize periodontist for both preventive periodontal care as well as both surgical and non-surgical management of periodontal disease, they also specialize in the development of bone and gums surrounding implant and the placement of implants as well. Some procedures are performed by both periodontists and oral surgeons. Both specialist are equipped to place implants and grown bone for implants. However, Dr. Cady does have an emphasis on the gum tissue surrounding implants and the repair of infected implants.
Understanding Gum Tissue Grafting
Many of you may be familiar with the term “skin graft” or “bone graft”. Many patients don’t understand the importance of their gum tissue and don’t realize the problem until you see root surface staring at you in the mirror or your dentist tells you that you need a gum graft. Many think the procedure will be worse than it actually is. Even some dentist will be reluctant to refer you because they are concerned that you may not like it. But don’t panic – gum surgery isn’t really that bad, and I can promise you, the procedure is much easier than having to deal with the consequences of NOT going through with the treatment at all.
Oftentimes, a gum graft is necessary to protect your teeth from gum recession, which is what happens when the tissues around your teeth literally begin to pull away—or recede—from the tooth. As well as giving your teeth an eerie, elongated appearance (long in the tooth), gum recession can become extremely painful as more and more of your tooth—then your tooth root—becomes exposed. Eventually, if not taken care of, gum recession can cause extensive damage to your bone structure, and actually result in tooth loss. Tooth loss usually results in the need for dentures, partials dentures, or dental implants. This typically cost more than the tissue grafting.
Gum recession is a gradual process that stems from advanced stages of gum disease. 4% – 12% of American adults are inflicted with this problem, and many of the cases often go unnoticed until it becomes so severe, it is difficult to NOT notice. As I mentioned earlier, the individual will begin to suffer from extreme sensitivity, an unattractive smile and tooth loss. However, to prevent any of this from occurring, you can repair the damage and prevent future problems with a simple procedure: The Gum Graft. There are three different types of gum tissue grafts that can be performed. Every patient is unique therefore a consult is recommended to evaluate which grafting procedure would be best for you. The connective tissue graft, is the most common graft, and is used to treat root exposure. This procedure involves cutting a flap of skin at your palate (the roof of your mouth) and using the tissue from beneath the flap on your gums.
The free gingival graft is similar to the aforementioned connective tissue graft in that it uses skin from the palate. However, instead of using tissue from beneath the flap, this process uses a small amount of tissue that is removed directly from the roof. This method is generally used to thicken naturally thin gums. The pinhole graft is used only on people who have plenty of gum tissue near the tooth. This particular procedure uses placement collagen tissue under the existing gum around or near the tooth that needs repair. This procedure is done in a way that the tissue remains partially attached, and all I have to do is pull it down so that it covers the exposed root. Typically sutures are not used.
Allograft procedures are similar to the others listed. However, the tissue donor is not the person having the graft. Instead the tissue is form tissue donors and processed to be used safely in the patients mouth. May patient are concerned with the donor tissue and the possibility of infectious diseases. This is not a concern because the graft goes through a process to remove all living cells or particles that may be recognized as foreign. Not every patient is a good candidate for the allograft. Dr. Cady will be able to assist in providing the best long term prognosis with the case.