At Tar Heel Periodontics, we combine modern, up-to-date techniques and technology with surgical and sedation skills to provide a comfortable, efficient experience for our patients.
Our practice is evidence-based and uses American Academy of Periodontology-approved techniques and approaches. Tar Heel Periodontics and Implant Dentistry has four locations in Raleigh, Wake Forest, Cary, and Durham to offer convenience to our patients.
Periodontal Disease and Treatment
Periodontal disease (or "gum disease") is a chronic bacterial infection that causes loss of the bone and gums around teeth. This will eventually cause teeth to become loose and, in severe cases, to fall out. Research has shown that periodontal disease is not only limited to the mouth, however. It also can contribute to diabetes and heart disease, and in pregnant women, increases the chance of premature birth. It is therefore extremely important to treat periodontal disease when it is found, to limit the damage in the mouth and in the rest of the body. Long term, brushing and flossing, along with regular cleanings, helps prevent periodontal disease and is crucial to achieving and maintaining good results from treatment.
Scaling & Root Planing
Treatment generally consists of an initial scaling and root planing (antimicrobial) phase to reduce the amount of bacterial deposits in the periodontium. This is similar to pulling a splinter from under a fingernail – the tissue becomes less inflamed and more comfortable.
Often, the destruction has progressed more in some areas, and these areas may need to be treated surgically to reduce the chances the disease process will return. These decisions are generally made following the initial treatment, at a re-evaluation exam.
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Soft tissue grafting surgery and Crown Lengthening
Cosmetic Periodontal Surgery and Gum Grafting
Sometimes patients have excessive gum tissue, which leads to short teeth and a "gummy smile." A more natural, esthetic appearance can easily be achieved by removing the excess tissue. Alternately, periodontal disease or excessive brushing, especially with stiff brushes, can lead to recession, or loss of gum tissue around teeth. This recession can cause cold and heat sensitivity and lead to further gum loss. Dr. Kretchmer, Dr. Stella, and Dr.Valentine can repair this loss and strengthen the tissue using grafts.
Often, when a tooth is decayed or cracked, there is not enough room for your dentist to make a well-fitting crown. To solve this problem, a periodontist will remove some of the soft and hard tissue around your tooth, exposing more tooth structure and allowing your dentist to make a better crown that will last longer and be more easily cleanable.
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Dental Implants - Raleigh, Wake Forest, and Cary
Sometimes, teeth cannot be saved. Luckily, research over the last 40+ years has shown us that dental implants are often the most conservative, most effective treatment to replace missing teeth. The procedure itself is simple: a small root-shaped, hollow titanium screw is placed into the jaw. After healing, a crown can be made to fit on top of the implant body and replace the missing tooth.
When teeth are lost, the bone supporting them can be lost as well. A procedure called "site preservation", in which a surgeon places bone graft material into the socket, helps preserve the supporting bone during healing and allows for simple dental implant placement for tooth replacement. Alternatively, these implants can also be used to make bridges or snap in dentures.
In cases when there is a healed implant candidate site that does not have enough bone to support an implant, new bone must be grown in that area. This process, which we call bone grafting, can sometimes be done at the same time as implant placement. Implants can be used to replace teeth in nearly every case. In some cases, they can even be placed the same day the tooth is removed. Talk to your dentist about your choices between implants and other replacement options.
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