Sometimes, periodontal surgery may be needed in order to treat diseases and conditions like gingivitis and periodontitis. In this post, our Ontario dentists explain the conditions gum surgery can treat and the different types of surgery there are.
What conditions can gum surgery treat?
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes swelling, redness, and bleeding. Professional treatment is available to reverse the condition and prevent tooth loss and bone damage. Periodontitis causes the gums to separate from the teeth, resulting in pockets that trap bacteria and lead to infection.
The procedure aims to fix any damage caused by gum disease by:
- 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 grows and multiplies in bone crevices)
- reducing the gum gap between teeth
Types of Surgical Procedures
Before dental surgery, a dentist may clean the gums very well. 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:
Flap surgery is a procedure that removes tartar buildup by lifting the gums away from the teeth. 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.
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. This bone could be the person's own, a synthetic bone, or a donated bone.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
To prevent the gum from growing abnormally, a small piece of mesh is placed between the person's gum and bone during this procedure.
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.
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. However, bear in mind that there is no current research that completely supports laser treatment.
What happens during surgery?
The majority of gum surgery operations take about 2 hours to complete. To reduce the danger of infection, the dentist uses sterile equipment, like tools and drapes. In some situations, the dentist 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.
Some patients will need pain relievers in the days following gum surgery, but a dentist 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 dentist 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.