About half of American women and men have some degree of gum disease, a leading cause of tooth loss among adults. For older Americans, the number is even greater: Nearly three-quarters of people age 65 and older have periodontal disease.
Gum disease causes your gums to pull away or recede from the tooth surface, making it easier for bacteria to cause deep infections that can weaken your teeth. Receding gums also lead to other problems, like gum swelling and bleeding, along with increased tooth sensitivity.
While deep cleaning can be effective in treating gum disease in its very early stages, more advanced disease requires other options to prevent tooth loss and other complications. Those options focus on replacing or remodeling gum tissue to correct recession.
At Dental Studio of Pasadena, our team offers two cutting-edge gum disease treatment options for people in Pasadena, California, who have more advanced forms of disease: gum grafting and laser gum treatment. Here’s how to tell which is a better choice for you.
Gum grafting uses a tiny amount of gum tissue harvested from another area of your mouth to replace gum tissue lost to recession. There are three basic approaches to gum grafting: connective tissue grafts, free gingival grafts, and pedicle grafts.
Connective tissue grafts use tissue harvested from the roof of your mouth. We make a small flap in your palate and remove a very tiny section of tissue underneath this flap. We suture that tissue in place over the receding area, covering the exposed tooth and restoring your normal gum line.
Free gingival grafts are similar, but instead of using deeper connective tissue from your palate, we use the upper layer of tissue. Free gingival grafts is a good choice for people with thin or inadequate gum tissue.
Pedicle grafts use gum tissue taken from the gums located near the tooth that needs treatment. In this option, we loosen the tissue, then gently reposition it in its new position without completely removing it from its base. We recommend these grafts for people with adequate healthy gum tissue near the site of the graft placement.
After gum grafting, you may have some minor swelling and discomfort, which you can manage with over-the-counter medicines. Complete healing only takes about 1-2 weeks. We provide detailed instructions on caring for the graft and donor sites, including special mouthwash to prevent infection and instructions on following a diet of soft food initially.
Laser gum treatment uses a completely different approach for gum disease treatment and receding gums. Rather than using a scalpel or other cutting instrument to make an incision in your gum tissue, laser treatment uses the highly focused laser energy to treat recession.
Lasers are highly precise, which means they may cause less tissue damage compared with traditional gum grafting. The heat of the laser closes off tiny blood vessels, so you have less bleeding and swelling.
Our team uses the state-of-the-art LANAP® (laser-assisted new attachment protocol) system from Millennium Dental Technologies Inc. This system remodels gum tissue while killing bacteria that cause gum disease and contribute to gum recession and tooth loss. This system also offers a special option for treating gum disease around dental implants.
At first glance, laser gum treatment might seem like a better choice based solely on the reduced bleeding and swelling associated with it. But that’s just one factor.
The bigger consideration revolves around the severity of your gum disease: Typically, laser gum treatment is only used for less advanced forms of gum disease, while gum grafting is the hands-down better option for people with more severe disease and significant recession.
Bottom line: The best way to know which option can help treat your gum disease, reduce sensitivity, and lower your risk of future tooth loss is to schedule an evaluation with our team. To learn more, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Dental Studio of Pasadena today.