Periodontal Gum Surgery

If you are experiencing advanced gum disease or related concerns then oral surgery may be recommended as treatment. In this post, our Winnipeg oral surgeons share some of the periodontal conditions that may be treated with oral surgery and some of the different types of gum surgery that can be performed.

What periodontal conditions are treatable using surgery?

Swelling, redness and bleeding from the gums are all characteristics of gingivitis. This condition needs to be treated promptly as it can progress into advanced gum disease potentially causing bone and tooth loss. Periodontitis causes the gums to separate from the teeth, resulting in pockets that trap bacteria and lead to infection.

Gum surgery is able to help in a number of different ways including:

  • regrowing damaged tissues and bones
  • destroying bacteria to inhibit infections
  • preventing tooth loss
  • reshaping the jaw to lower the risk of bacterial growth (bacteria usually grow and multiply in bone crevices)
  • reducing the gum gap between teeth

The Different Types of Gum Surgery

Prior to your surgical procedure, your oral surgeon may perform a thorough cleaning of your teeth and mouth. Deep scaling is a way to get rid of tartar and bacteria from teeth and gums, and it can be done by a dentist. Some people have their teeth roots smoothed by a process called root planing. This means that tartar can build up in fewer places and that less tartar will need to be removed.

Here is a list of common periodontal surgeries:

Gum Flap Surgery

Your oral surgeon may use flap surgery to lift the gums up and away from the teeth to clear away tartar. It's especially beneficial for those who have tartar deposits in their deep pockets. After that, the gums are stitched back into place to fit around the teeth. During this procedure, the bone may need to be reshaped.

Bone Grafting

When a person's tooth is damaged or destroyed, they may require a bone graft, which is a surgical procedure that involves replacing the damaged bone with new bone. The goal of bone grafting is to keep the tooth in place and aid in its regeneration. The bone graft may be sourced from the patient's own body, a donor or a synthetic bone.

Guided Tissue Regeneration

In order to prevent the gum from growing abnormally during tissue regeneration, the oral surgeon will place a small piece of mesh between the person's gum and bone during this procedure.

Gum Tissue Therapy

A depressed gum line is caused by gum tissue loss and may necessitate soft tissue grafting to prevent the risk of additional damage. During this treatment, a dental surgeon often takes tissue from one portion of the body and reattaches it to the location where the gum has receded. The tissue usually comes from the roof of the mouth and covers any exposed roots.

Other surgical Gum Procedures

Some dentists may use laser treatment to shrink pockets and repair damaged connective tissue, while others use protein-based gel to encourage bone and tissue development. While this treatment is used there is no scientific research or testing to support it.

What can you expect during gum surgery?

The majority of gum surgery operations take about 2 hours to complete. To reduce the danger of infection, the oral surgeon uses sterile equipment, like tools and drapes. In some situations, the oral surgeon will require the patient to be asleep or semi-asleep for the operation. At times, the operation is as simple as using a local anesthetic to numb the gums.

Recovery After Periodontal Surgery

Some patients will need pain relievers in the days following gum surgery, but the dental surgeon will discuss any prescribed medications with them before they leave the office or surgical facility. Recovery timeframes will vary depending on the degree of the treatment and how long it takes the person to recover.

Following oral surgery, a person's gums and teeth should mend, tighten, and grow tougher and stronger. The oral surgeon will likely make an appointment for you to return to the clinic in 1 to 2 weeks. Some patients may have dental sensitivity to hot or cold conditions, which can be alleviated by using desensitizing toothpaste.

If you have any oral surgery-related questions please feel free to contact our Winnipeg oral surgeons to discuss your concerns.

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