Periodontal (Gum) Disease & Soft Tissues

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums that causes an inflammatory process in the mouth. When left untreated, this inflammation eventually erodes the supporting bone and gums around the teeth.

The most common risk factors are: diabetes, smoking, & a positive family history. The most common signs and symptoms include: receding gums, pain, infection, loosening of teeth, and bad breath.

Do I have receding gums? What now?

  • Receding gums refers to the erosion of the gums along the root surface of the tooth. This can result in the teeth looking longer and may cause tooth sensitivity.
  • In some cases, receding gums can be caused by aggressive tooth brushing or tooth grinding instead of periodontal disease. It’s important to discuss the possible causes with your dentist to brainstorm different solutions, which may include:
    • Changing your tooth brush, tooth paste, or brushing technique
    • Wearing a night guard
    • Getting braces to improve tooth position and relieve excessive biting forces
    • Gingival grafting or a frenectomy
    • Desensitization and fillings on the root surfaces

How is periodontal (gum) disease treated?

  • The goal of initial therapy is to remove the bacterial infection in the gum tissues, in order to stop the progression of disease. This is done by removing the plaque and tartar (also called calculus) from the teeth, both above the gumline as well as below it, where your toothbrush can’t reach. At Horizon Dental, our hygienists use hand and ultrasonic instruments to ensure complete disinfection of your gums and tissues.
  • Once you have finished initial therapy, it may be necessary to follow up with minor surgical procedures such as a frenectomy, gingival grafting, or pocket reduction. Nagel values a minimally invasive approach to these therapies and use the latest technology, including the Waterlase iplus laser to enhance treatment outcomes.
  • Maintenance – once the gum disease is under control. we help you maintain your health by providing regular visits, often 3-4 times per year, with our skilled dental hygienists and follow ups with the dentist.

Soft Tissue Surgeries:


What is a frenectomy?

  • Most commonly done for children, the lip muscle or tongue muscle attachment can sometimes be “tied” or too tight. These can cause problems with breast-feeding, speech, and eruption of permanent teeth.
  • Instead of using invasive techniques that require cutting of the muscle, Dr. Nagel uses the dental laser to reduce the attachment and move it away from the problem area.
  • This procedure is sometimes necessary in adults to help prevent or stop the progression of receding gums, or to make room for a prosthesis like a denture.

What is gingival grafting?

  • Gingival grafting often involves removing soft tissue from a different area of the mouth, often the hard palate, and transplanting it to a site where the gingiva needs reinforcement, such as in areas of advanced gum recession.

What is pocket reduction therapy?

  • Pocket reduction therapy is done when the bone loss around a tooth is significant enough to cause chronic inflammation, and sometimes infection, around a tooth. The deep pocket makes cleaning the area at home impossible, and if it cannot be maintained then the bone loss may progress overtime leading to loss of the tooth.
  • Pocket reduction is a surgical technique done mainly with the Waterlase iplus laser, to disinfect the area and gently re-shape the bone to allow the gum tissues to heal and ideally close the pocket to outside bacteria.

What is a gum lift or crown lengthening?

  • Using the dental laser, this minimally invasive approach helps to raise the gums away from the teeth to give then teeth a lengthened appearance and reducing a “gummy smile”.
  • In some cases, the gums or supporting bone must be reshaped around a tooth, especially if it has been broken or worn down significantly, when placing a crown or filling.

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