Healthy Gums Are Essential for a Healthy Smile

Restoring Gums is the First Step to a Restored smile

As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Brett M. Shigley has extensive knowledge of diseases and injuries impacting the mouth, teeth, jaw, and gums. He has expertise treating gum issues and performing bone grafting procedures to prep patients for dental implants, as well as frenectomy and osseous surgery in Powdersville, SC. If you have gum issues that require surgery, you’ll benefit from seeing an oral surgeon that leverages extensive skills and cutting-edge technologies to deliver the highest quality care with a compassionate, small-town touch.

Our Soft Tissue Treatments

While most people barely notice the small folds of soft tissue that connect their upper and lower lips to their gums and tongue, abnormal anatomy of either frenum (also called frenulum) can cause troublesome cosmetic and functional issues. The tissue that connects the upper and lower lips to your gums is called the maxillary labial frenum, while the tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of your mouth is known as the lingual frenum.  When Dr. Shigley performs a frenectomy in Powdersville, SC, he administers local numbing agents and sedation so it’s quick and nearly painless. In most cases, snipping the excessive frenum tissue takes 15 minutes or less. In more severe cases, the procedure may require a few stitches. The area should start healing within a day or two and scar over in about a week. In adults, food choices need to be limited for the first few days to avoid food getting trapped and prevent infection.

If the labial frenum is overly large and extends too far down the gum tissue, this causes a large gap between your two front teeth, thereby preventing baby teeth from coming together. If it’s too tight, this can cause gum recession. A labial frenectomy is generally performed after the two permanent front teeth have erupted because the gap usually doesn’t go away on its own. In younger children that experience associated pain or discomfort, Dr. Shigley can perform a frenectomy prior to permanent teeth coming in. In addition to eliminating the gap, a labial frenectomy improves bite function, reduces pain, and helps restores confidence in teens and young adults.

If the lingual frenum is too far forward on your tongue, this can restrict movement of the tongue, resulting in difficulties eating and speaking properly. As such, this is commonly referred to as “tongue tie surgery.” In infants, this condition can interfere with breastfeeding. Although this problem doesn’t cause a delay in speech, it can affect a child’s ability to form sounds and pronounce words.

Healthy gum tissue protects the roots of your teeth by creating a seal around them. When your gums become infected or irritated due to periodontal disease, they can pull away from the roots of your teeth, thereby creating periodontal pockets around them. When the pockets get larger, bacteria continue to flourish under your gum line, which can lead to the most serious stage of gum disease. If left untreated, this can lead to bone loss, associated tooth loss, and other health risks. Dr. Shigley has extensive experience performing osseous surgery in Powdersville, SC to reduce pockets and help restore your gums to health.

During the first step, Dr. Shigley administers local anesthesia to ensure the procedure is as painless as possible. Once the area is numb, he will assess the severity of your gum disease to determine how much bone is lost and the depth of your periodontal pockets. He then pulls back the gum tissue and removes existing tartar. After your gums are clean, he reshapes the impacted teeth and contours the bone surrounding the teeth, thereby eliminating any pockets or craters. If gum disease is advanced, he may perform a bone graft to completely fill in the pockets. The gum is gently put back into its normal position and stitched into place. Then he places a protective material over the repaired area to block food debris. You’ll return to our practice a week later to get stitches removed.

Your gums deserve attention to protect more than your smile!

Schedule an appointment today to restore the health of your gums.