Keeping your teeth in good condition is an important part of maintaining your overall health. When you fail to do this,
you are opening up the door to a whole host of health issues that could require you to undergo rigorous and costly
treatment plans. One of the worst things that can happen if you let your oral health fall by the wayside is the
development of gum disease. This chronic condition can be incredibly devastating to both the form and function of your
mouth, which means that it could affect the way you look as well as the way you feel, speak, eat, and swallow. At
Excellent Dental Specialists, we can help diagnose and treat gum disease in order to keep your teeth as healthy as
possible.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is a condition that can develop when the bacteria in our mouths is not cleaned properly. The first stages of
gum disease are often known as gingivitis. These particular stages are easily treatable as long as you visit our office
routinely, and can usually even be reversed with proper treatment and care. Are you wondering what symptoms might
help alert you to the presence of gingivitis? Let’s take a look!

The first thing that you might notice if you are suffering from gingivitis is that your gums are inflamed and bleed easily.
They feel swollen, in other words, and you often see blood on your toothbrush or in the sink after brushing and flossing
your teeth. Again, this kind of gum disease is usually reversible if you see a dentist and submit to routine treatment.

The next stages in gum disease are known as periodontitis, and they are the most serious stages of the disease. If
gingivitis is not treated, it can turn into periodontitis, where your gums will pull away from your teeth and form areas
that develop infection. As this infection grows beneath the gums of your teeth, your body’s immune system will attempt
to fight the bacteria. This can lead to a loss of gum tissue as well as bone. Eventually, your teeth could become loose and
need to be removed due to the damaging effects of gum disease.

How does gum disease form?

Gum disease develops when bacteria and detritus in your mouth form plaque that is not removed by brushing or
flossing. It turns into tartar, which must be removed by a dental professional. Should you fail to have this tartar
removed, then you might end up with gingivitis, the first stages of gum disease, due to the irritating presence of tartar
harming your gums.

Risk Factors

There are some health factors that may put you at risk for gum disease. They include the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Medication Use
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Certain Illnesses and Treatments
  • Genetics

As you can see, there are a variety of risk factors that could play a role in the development of gum disease. The best
option is to keep an eye on your teeth and visit us regularly! Give us a call at (612) 444-2273 today to schedule a
cleaning!

What is gum disease?

There are various types of gum diseases, but most people think of two gum disease—Gingivitis and Periodontitis.  The
gum disease gingivitis is when bacteria invade the gum tissues and create red, swollen, or tender gums.  Fortunately this
is a reversible disease, and can be treated with professional cleanings and management.  The supporting structures are
not damaged beyond repair.

Unfortunately, if Gingivitis is not treated it can lead to the gum disease Periodontitis.  This disease does affect the
supporting structures of the teeth (specifically the jaw bone, connective tissue, and periodontal ligament).  The infection
can progress to where harmful bacteria invade the bloodstream and affect your health.  While this disease can be
treated, it cannot be cured.  It is an inflammatory disease influenced by other health issues and genetics.  Many people
with Periodontitis have parents that have also had this disease.  Treating and managing Periodontitis requires a life-long
commitment.  Remember the phrase “only floss the teeth you want to keep!”

Periodontal Management – non-surgical and surgical techniques

Periodontal management involves cleanings that are deeper than a “normal” cleaning by one of our hygienists. Patients
with a history of periodontal disease need deeper cleanings because periodontal “pockets” have formed. (Also known as
“deep pockets” or “gum pockets”) Pockets are spaces between the teeth and gums where plaque and tartar form.

What’s the deal with “deep pockets?”

Gum disease begins when bacteria invade the gums.  The bacteria multiply and invite their bad bacterial friends and
cause infection below the gum line.  Your body tries to kill these bacteria but they leave a sludge behind them on the
roots of the teeth.  Your body gets confused and sends messages to attack your diseased roots.  The amount of damage
can be measured with an instrument called a periodontal probe.  Your dentist or hygienist will frequently say “you have
deep pockets” when the probe measures beyond a certain level.  The higher the “pocket depth” the greater the risk for
tooth loss!  So the only “deep pockets” you want are those in your pants!

Periodontal Treatments

  • Pinhole Technique
  • LANAP and LAPIP
  • Osseous or Regenerative Periodontal Surgery
  • Soft tissue grafting
  • Guided Surgery
  • Crown Lengthening
  • Dental Implant Therapy
  • Sinus Lift Augmentation
  • Exposure of Impacted Canines
  • Lip Repositioning
  • Ridge Augmentation
  • Combination Procedures
  • Oral Pathology/Oral Medicine
  • Deep Cleaning or Scaling and Root Planing
  • Sedation Dentistry

Pinhole Technique

We are the first and only office in the greater San Antonio and New Braunfels area to offer a minimally invasive
technique to treat gum recession.  This procedure, known as the Pinhole Surgical Technique, is a suture and scalpel free
way to lift the gums over the roots.  We also do not use your own tissue to help cover the roots, so there is minimal
discomfort after the procedure.  This procedure covers most of the exposed roots and dramatically reduces or
eliminates sensitive teeth.
We can achieve complete root coverage in 80% of Miller type I and II defects with gains in attached tissue. This is an
excellent alternative to the gold standard of autogenous soft tissue grafts.

LANAP and LAPIP

Laser Assisted new Attachment Procedure and Laser Assisted Treatment of peri-implantitis

Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure and Laser Assisted Treatment of Peri-implantitis. This is a scalpel and suture
free form of osseous gum surgery.  A specific laser (Periolase) selectively removes the infected tissue and the bacteria
that cause gum disease.  This is an FDA approved procedure that will regenerate tissue lost from gum (periodontal)
disease.  This procedure can also be used to treat infected tissue around dental implants.

This procedure uses the Periolase (an Nd:YAG laser) that specifically targets darkly pigmented or inflamed and diseased
tissue, endotoxic (especially helpful with peri-implantitis), and stimulates the surrounding cells into regeneration This is
an FDA approved procedure and will achieve cementum-mediated new periodontal ligament attachment to the root
surface in the absence of a long junctional epithelium. It frequently regenerates lost bone.

Osseous or Regenerative Periodontal Surgery

Sometimes the gums have become very unhealthy and non-surgical treatment cannot control the disease process.  The
gums need to be gently moved back from the teeth to access the areas of severe damage.  The infection is removed,
deformed areas corrected, and tissues area carefully repositioned.  This is known as Osseous Periodontal Surgery.  This
treatment is most beneficial when used with bone grafts or proteins designed to regenerate or grow back the lost bone
and tissues lost to severe damage.

Soft tissue grafting

Soft tissue grafting procedures improve stability, cover exposed roots, reduce caries risk and improve the zone of
attached gingiva.

Some teeth have exposed roots.  People with these conditions may be unaware of this or may have sensitive
teeth—especially to cold drinks or when tooth brushing.  A gum or soft tissue graft, known as a connective tissue graft,
can cover the exposed root.  This typically involves transplanting tissue from another area of the mouth, but the donor
source may be ‘freeze-dried’ tissue.  The gum graft is secured between the exposed root and the existing tissue.  After
healing, the gum graft blends in beautifully with the surrounding gums.  Also, the sensitivity greatly reduces or goes
away, and the stability and comfort of the tooth (or teeth) improves for years to come.