Mary Ann Hanlon, DDS, MS
Practice Limited to Periodontics

What kinds of periodontal procedures does Dr. Hanlon perform?

The term “periodontics” refers to the dental specialty dealing with the study and treatment of periodontal (around the tooth) disease.  Following graduation from dental school, periodontists complete three years of specialty training.  Periodontists, like dentists, must pass a board examination and maintain an active dental license.   

Reasons for periodontal treatment

Periodontal disease is a progressive condition, typically beginning with mild gum inflammation (gingivitis).  It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults living in the developed world.  Patients with periodontal disease (often called gum disease) typically exhibit red, swollen, bleeding gums.  Although pain is possible, most patients remain asymptomatic until the later stages of the disease are reached. 

Periodontal disease generally begins when the bacteria living in plaque cause an infection in the tissues surrounding the teeth.  Eventually, this infection spreads to the jawbone, causing the teeth to loosen and exfoliate. 

Several instances when periodontal treatment may be indicated are listed below: 

  • Moderate/advanced gum disease – This occurs when the jawbone surrounding the teeth becomes infected and recedes.

  • Localized gum recession – Gum recession is often seen in association with the loss of underlying bone support.  However, it may also be caused by improper brushing, tooth malpositioning, muscle impingement and trauma.  Immediate treatment helps limit further spread.

  • Before placing a crown – To ensure the best possible fit, your dentist may need additional tooth exposure before making your crown.  This tooth exposure (lengthening) is easily accomplished as your periodontist reshapes the bone and soft tissue.   

  • Ridge augmentation – This procedure is often performed when a more esthetic gum contour is desired.  In addition to improving the appearance of your smile, this procedure often improves the feel and function of your teeth.   

Treating periodontal problems of all kinds doesn't stop once patients leave the office.  Upon completion of treatment, many patients will be placed on an alternating recall schedule.  This way, the expertise of both the general dentist and the periodontist is always available and recurring problems are intercepted much earlier. 

The best long term results are achieved when patients know how to keep their mouths germ free .  Personalized oral hygiene routines, specifically tailored to each patient's needs, make maintaining that healthy smile easy!



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