Dental Gum Flap Surgery 1

Dental Gum Flap Surgery

While there is no arguing that any degree of gum disease is detrimental to your oral and general health, dental technology has advanced to the point where it can be aggressively addressed and treated so as to prevent further health issues. In the best cases an individual’s teeth can be saved, but even in the worst cases extensive damage can be mitigated. Dental gum flap surgery, also known as gingival flap surgery or periodontal flap surgery, is one possible course of treatment.

The Process of Dental Gum Flap Surgery

If gum disease is caught early in the process, the dentist may be able to successfully treat it without surgery. However, the most important thing is to eliminate all infection in order to prevent further illness, so in cases where moderate or advanced gum disease cannot be handled with non-surgical methods, dental gum flap surgery may be necessary.

Dental flap surgery is primarily used to repair periodontal “pockets”. These pockets occur as a result of gum disease inflammation and infection that destroys the gum tissue’s natural ability to attach properly to teeth. The end goal of successful dental flap surgery is to prevent tooth loss and increase the life expectancy of damaged teeth.

Prior to dental gum flap surgery being recommended, a periodontist will perform a thorough consultation which will include a complete health evaluation. It is important to determine whether dental gum flap surgery will be safe, based on the patient’s overall health condition. Once this has been established, one can safely undergo dental gum flap surgery.

The first step of dental gum flap surgery is for all plaque and tartar to be removed from around the teeth so that one’s oral hygiene is in good shape. Then, a numbing shot will be administered to help ensure the procedure is as comfortable as possible. A scalpel will be used to separate the gums from the teeth, folding them back like a flap so that the periodontist can access the roots and bone that support the teeth.

The periodontist will remove any inflamed tissue that lies between teeth and in holes in the bone. Scaling and root planing are performed in order to clean plaque and tartar away. A procedure called osseous recontouring is used in order to eliminate bone defects and smooth the edges of the bone. Once these procedures are complete and health has been restored, the flaps of the gums are stitched back into place against the teeth. There are many methods and materials that can be used to do this well, and the individual patient’s specific needs are taken into account when deciding how to proceed. In some cases, the periodontist will use a plastic moldable dressing, or periodontal pack, to help secure the position of the gum flaps while they heal.

After the Surgery

It is not unusual for individuals to experience mild to moderate discomfort after dental gum flap surgery, but in many cases an over-the-counter pain reliever is sufficient to address this. It is absolutely vital that one’s oral health be vigorously protected after the surgery and while the mouth is healing, which means oral hygiene is more important than ever. Upon discharge, the periodontist will instruct the patient in how to properly maintain their oral hygiene, which may include gentle brushing and flossing, antimicrobial mouth rinses that contain chlorhexidine and any other specific recommendations such as ice pack application to the outside of the face to help prevent or reduce swelling and antibiotics to prevent infection.

A re-evaluation of the patient’s mouth normally occurs between one week to ten days after dental gum flap surgery has been completed. Obviously any questions or concerns one has should be presented to the periodontist immediately when they arise–in these cases it is best not to wait until the follow-up examination.

A Final Thought

It is important to recognize the fact that dental gum flap surgery is not viewed as a cure-all for gum disease issues, but rather a way to address the immediate problem and mitigate the damages caused by gum disease. This can provide the individual with an opportunity to improve their oral health so as to prolong the life of their teeth.


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