A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, we surgically implant a small titanium shaft into the bone and allow it to heal. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, your general dentist then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the shaft. This permanent solution has the advantages over bridge work that it does not stress the surrounding teeth for support, and, should the tooth wear out, another can simply be replaced on the shaft.
Implants can also be used as support as part of an implant bridge. This is an alternative to partial dentures, and has several advantages. First, there is no adjustment period to acclimatize the patient who, once the work is done, only feels teeth, not metal supports intruding into the mouth. Second, this slows the bone loss occasioned by missing teeth. Third, there is no discomfort or difficulty in eating. And, best of all, of course, they don't have to be taken out all the time.
SOFT TISSUE GRAFTS
Soft tissue grafts or gum grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue where absent due to excessive gingival recession. During surgery, Dr. Gorday takes gum tissue, usually from your palate, to cover the exposed root. This can be done for one tooth or several teeth to even your gum line and reduce sensitivity.
This is a procedure that may be requested by your general dentist to facilitate placement of a crown or filling. Usually crown lengthening is performed to expose decay that is too far below the gum line or too extensive to allow the proper placement of a filling or crown. Dr. Gorday cuts away excess tissue and bone surrounding the tooth or teeth and re-contours the tissue. Crown lengthening is also performed as a cosmetic procedure to reduce excess tissue and correct a "gummy smile".
The frenum is a non-essential muscle connecting the lips, cheek, or tongue to the jaw bone. It is the piece of tissue you can feel with your tongue running between your lip and your front teeth. Sometimes this muscle is too thick or pulls so much it causes problems. Often frenectomy is done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment to reduce a diastema (a gap between two teeth) or to allow proper eruption of secondary teeth.
A frenectomy may sometimes be required in conjunction with a soft tissue graft. The frenum inside the lower lip can pull the gum away from the tooth causing or worsening recession. The frenum may need to be removed either prior to or at the same time as a soft tissue graft to properly correct the defect.