Periodontics for Children and Teens
Parents are advised to look for early signs of periodontal diseases in their children, particularly with teenagers, as hormonal changes related to puberty can put teens at greater risk for getting periodontal disease. Sometimes your child’s pediatric dentist or orthodontist may identify a periodontal concern and refer your child to a periodontist. If gum recession (making the tooth look longer), overgrowth of gum (making the teeth appear shorter), or bleeding of the gums is observed, early diagnosis is important for successful treatment. Sometimes the frenulum - the tissue under the tongue or under the lip extending between the front teeth may present an issue for orthodontic tooth movement or even affect your child’s speech. Dr. Shack uses a laser for minimally invasive treatment to eliminate the excess tissue, sometimes only using a topical gel instead of local anesthetic injection. Your child will receive a comprehensive periodontal examination and if early signs of disease are found, various treatments are available.
Services Dr. Shack offers for children and teens include:
Gum Grafting to Correct Recession
Gum recession, which is the gradual loss of gum tissue, can expose the roots of the teeth and make them appear longer. Recession can lead to decay, damage and wear, as tooth roots are much softer than tooth enamel. Dr. Shack can gently correct gum grafting and restore a healthy gum line with minimally invasive procedures.
Treatment for Gummy Smile/Recontouring the Gumline
A gummy smile is a term for the irregular smile caused by an excess of gum tissue that makes the teeth look small and unattractive aesthetically. One of the most effective methods to treat a gummy smile is dental laser treatment. Dr. Shack can comfortably and efficiently remove the excess gum tissue, many times only using a topical gel instead of local anesthetic injection. Most of the time, your child can resume normal activities immediately.
If your child is experiencing certain speech, eating, or orthodontic problems, Dr. Shack may recommend a procedure called a frenectomy, which removes the connective tissue (frenulum) at either the top or the bottom of the mouth, helping to correct these problems. A frenulum binding the tongue from moving freely (“Tongue-Tie”) may result in pronunciation difficulties as well as affecting proper growth of the lower jaw. A frenulum may also extend in between the front teeth causing a gap, which is not easily closed with orthodontics unless the tissue is removed. If the frenulum is not removed, the gap may be more likely to recur after orthodontics, sometimes even if a retainer is worn. Gum recession is another result of a frenulum pulling at the neck of a tooth. The result can be loss of the tooth if not addressed properly. The earlier these issues are identified, the simpler treatment may be. Frenectomies are a safe and convenient option for patients of all ages, and can be performed by Dr. Shack using a laser for quick recovery and less discomfort than traditional techniques.
Extractions of Primary (Baby) Teeth
Sometimes a baby tooth does not come out when expected. Your child’s dentist or orthodontist may refer you to Dr. Shack for removal of the baby tooth to help with the progression of treatment. Sometimes the laser can be used with only a topical gel instead of local anesthetic injection, and typically your child may resume normal activities the same day.
Exposure of Impacted Teeth
When a tooth remains under the gum and your child’s orthodontist needs access to it in order to move it into its proper position, they may refer you to Dr. Shack to expose the tooth. Dr. Shack will typically use the laser to expose the tooth, and your child can usually resume normal activities the same day.
Kids, like adults may develop inflammation of the gums requiring periodontal intervention. Signs may include bleeding, painful gums, bad breath, and swollen, red gums. A periodontal examination and health history is the first step in determining the cause, followed by a plan to improve your child’s oral health. Early intervention can prevent the development of more advanced periodontal concerns in the future.
Dental Implants for Missing Teeth
Some people are born without certain teeth, and this condition is called congenitally missing teeth. Whether teeth are missing congenitally or due to decay or trauma, Dr. Shack works with your child’s dentist and orthodontist to plan the appropriate timing and placement of dental implants to restore their smile. Dental implants will help preserve the jaw bone and will look and feel like their own teeth.