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Periodontal Disease: Guided Tissue Regeneration (GTR)

Teeth are held in place by surrounding gums, bone, and other tissues. But periodontal disease can cause the bone to break down. Certain techniques called regenerative procedures can be used to stimulate growth of new bone. This growth increases the height of the bone around the tooth, giving the tooth more support, and increases the amount of attachment around the root of the tooth. Getting back even half the lost bone height extends the life of the tooth. One type of regenerative procedure is called guided tissue regeneration (GTR).

Membrane being placed in gum flap next to tooth.
How GTR Works

A special membrane is placed between gum and bone. In certain cases, the gap in the bone that allowed the bacteria responsible for causing gum disease is filled with a material called bone graft. Bone graft is used as a substitute for the original bone. This prevents the gum tissue, which grows quickly, from filling the space where bone was lost. That way, new bone has time to grow where it’s needed. This is how GTR is done:

  • Surgery on gum and bone. The gum is opened. The area under the gums is cleaned out to remove all bacterial deposits.Then a membrane (with or without the bone graft material) is placed over the damaged bone.

  • Separating tissues. Once in place between bone and gum, the membrane provides necessary space and time for the bone to heal and start regenerating itself.

  • After healing. The stitches and membrane dissolve or are removed. In about six months, the bone regenerates to support the tooth and new attachment forms around the root of the tooth.

To decrease your chances of other health problems associated with periodontal disease, it is important to continue with your daily oral hygiene routine, along with professional maintenance care.

Tooth and gums after healing from tissue regeneration.


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