Patient Education

Periodontal Surgery

When periodontal pockets do not heal after scaling and root planning, surgery may be needed to better remove inflamed tissues and reduce the damage to the bone that has formed around the teeth. As the pockets enlarge, they provide a greater place for bacteria to live and attack the bone and tissue.

Surgery allows the dentist to access hard-to-reach areas under the gum and along the roots where tartar and plaques have accumulated.  Eliminating the bacterial stronghold and regenerating bone and tissue help to reduce pockets and repair damage caused by the progressing disease.

During the procedure, the dentist turns back the gum tissue and removes tartar and smoothes the roots so that gum tissue can reattach. The gums are sutured back into place or into a new position to make gum tissue snug around the tooth.

Your dentist may recommend additional procedures to regenerate lost bone and tissue. Bone surgery, including bone grafts, is used to rebuild or reshape bone destroyed by periodontal disease. Membranes (filters), bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins may be used to encourage your body’s natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue.

Splints, bite guards or other appliances may be used to stabilize loose teeth and to aid the regeneration of tissue during healing. If excessive gum tissue has been lost, a soft tissue graft (gum graft) may be performed. A soft tissue graft can reduce further gum recession and bone loss.

Soft tissue grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue where excessive gingival recession has occurred. During this procedure, gum tissue is taken from your palate or another donor source to cover the exposed root. This procedure can be used to even your gum line and reduce sensitivity. This can be done for one tooth or for several teeth. 

After surgery, the dentist may apply a protective dressing over teeth and gums and a special mouth rinse may be recommended or prescribed. An antibiotic and mild pain reliever also may be prescribed. Your dentist may also recommend applying cold packs to the outside of our cheeks to reduce any swelling.   (Information obtained from the American Academy of Priodontology www.perio.org)

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