Lesson 5: Repair

Dr. Lee to Martin: "The appearance of longer teeth caused by some surgical periodontal therapies and also the replacement of lost teeth can be handled using several treatment options."

Cosmetic restoration improves the esthetic appearance of damaged teeth, and veneers are one example. Other restorations (restoration) include crown and bridge, dental implants (implant), or dentures and partials.

A crown restoration restores a damaged tooth back to the original form and function, while a bridge replaces one or more teeth. These restorations are cemented onto the teeth and are referred to as "fixed" dentistry.

An implant is an artificial tooth root placed into the jaw bone that holds a replacement tooth or bridge. This procedure works only if there is adequate amounts of healthy bone.

Image #1: Teeth needing restoration;  Image#2: The 3 stages of an implant.

Dentures are removable, artificial sets of teeth in plastic frameworks that rest directly on the gingiva. Partials are used when several teeth are missing and the remaining teeth are not strong enough to support a bridge.

Dr. Lee to Martin: "Surgical treatments are more invasive and generally used only when nonsurgical methods are insufficient, typically when periodontal disease is more advanced."

Let’s review the four most common surgical procedures for periodontitis:

  1. Pocket reduction procedures involve folding back the gum tissue and removal of the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place.
  2. Regenerative procedures follow pocket reduction and involve membranes, bone grafts, or tissue-stimulating proteins that encourage the body's natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue.
  3. Crown lengthening procedures reshape excess gum and bone tissue to expose more of the natural tooth.
  4. Soft tissue grafts cover roots or develop gum tissue where missing due to gingival recession. Gum tissue is typically taken from the palate to cover the exposed root.

Dr. Lee to Martin: "When you meet with the Periodontist, she will help you decide which treatment options are right for you."