Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease

There are many different ways that dentists can treat gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. The primary option that dentists prefer to use is the procedure known as scaling and root planing. But in some cases, scaling and root planing are not enough. This page covers those treatments that are surgical in nature. These interventions are used when the tissue surrounding the patient’s teeth is too unhealthy to be repaired any other way.

Here are some of the types of surgical interventions that our dentists can perform:

  • Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery- This procedure consists of the gums being lifted back so that the tartar beneath can be excised. At times, bone surgery is incorporated into flap surgery in order to eliminate areas where disease-causing bacteria can lurk. After the dentist has removed the tartar and possibly smoothed the bone, the gums are tucked back in around the tooth in such a fashion as to limit the number of places for bacteria to grow. This practice reduces the chances that the patient will develop some of the more serious health issues that can result from gum disease.
  • Bone surgery – This technique is used after a patient has already undergone flap surgery in order to smooth out the bone, reducing craters where bacteria colonies thrive. These craters are the result of moderate or advanced bone loss, but getting rid of them gives bacteria one less place to call home.
  • Bone grafts – In this procedure, the dentist takes fragments of the patient’s bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone and uses them to take the place of bone that has been decimated by periodontal disease. These bone grafts act as a foundation to promote new bone growth, which is crucial to the stability of the teeth. With the help of an innovative new technology called tissue engineering, the dentist is able to prompt the body to regenerate its own bone and tissue faster than ever before, decreasing the procedure’s recovery time.
  • Soft tissue grafts – When a patient undergoes a soft tissue graft, the dentist takes tissue from elsewhere, usually the roof of the mouth, and relocates it to an area that has been ravaged by gum disease. The grafted tissue bolsters the thin or receded gums and repairs some of the damage done by periodontal disease.
  • Guided tissue regeneration –This procedure, which encourages new bone and gum tissue growth, becomes necessary when gum disease has destroyed all of the bone supporting a patient’s teeth. Typically, the dentist performs guided tissue regeneration in association with flap surgery. When this is done, the dentist places a tiny piece of mesh-like material into the area between the gum tissue and the bone. This material serves as a buffer to keep the gum tissue contained in the proper area so that it doesn’t try to overtake the bone. The bone is then able to regrow properly into its own space and is therefore better equipped to support the teeth.

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