Can gums be reconstructed after periodontal disease?

Dr. Anthony Sclar
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Both teeth and dental implants are best maintained when they are in healthy gum tissues. In the past, poor gums were considered untreatable and were blamed for the failure of complicated dental restorations. Even if you have experienced the ravages of periodontal disease and are missing teeth, there is much that can be done today with a combination of periodontal plastic surgery procedures and dental implant to recapture oral health, full dental function, and a beautiful smile.

Today, doctors utilize the most advanced techniques to reconstruct the periodontal and gingival tissues. These techniques are both functional (improving your ability to clean your teeth and reducing sensitivity of exposed roots) and cosmetic (allowing for natural appearing restorations with good shape and color).

Periodontal plastic and reconstructive surgery may involve procedures as simple as the minor recontouring of your gums or as complex as multi-staged grafting operations.

Dental crown lengthening may be the solution for a gummy smile or uneven gum line. This procedure often involves the minimally invasive removal of excess gum tissue and sculpting of the gum line. In certain cases, sculpting of the underlying bone is also required in order to achieve the optimal result.

Gum grafting procedures are used to cover exposed roots and to provide adequate supportive tissue for teeth and dental implants. Gum grafting not only helps anchor and protect roots and implants but also allows the clinician to achieve optimal esthetic results. Contemporary esthetic gum grafting techniques use the connective tissue below the surface of the gum, eliminating the post surgical pain associated with earlier techniques.

When a tooth is lost, the jawbone recedes and can result in an indentation in the gums and jawbone that looks unnatural. Ridge augmentation procedures are used to fill in defects in the jawbone, before placing a dental implant and natural looking prosthetic tooth.  

Many times the oral maxillofacial surgeon or periodontist will perform a combination of periodontal plastic surgery procedures to achieve the soft and hard tissue framework needed for your restorative-cosmetic dentist, prosthodontist, or implant specialist to create an optimally functioning and esthetic new smile.  

Periodontal disease leads to loss of the supporting bone around the tooth. If it has been detected early, we can reverse this bone destruction by guided bone regeneration techniques reconstructing the lost part. If the disease has progressed from lack of treatment or proper referral from the general dentist to the periodontist, we can still reverse the damage and improve the situation but not to the original stage of course.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.