Many patients have some concerns when periodontal surgery has been recommended. It’s important to find answers to questions patients frequently ask before surgery. Knowing what lies ahead will enable you to actively participate in your health care decisions.
Why is periodontal surgery necessary?
The gum and bone tissues around your teeth are unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-surgical treatment.
Will periodontal surgery hurt?
Several new treatment options using refined techniques can be performed as an in-office procedure. There have been improvements in local anesthesia, anxiety and pain control medications, and conscious sedation. A certified anesthetist can come into the office to provide dental sedation during the procedure if you wish.
How long will it take to heal?
Most patients resume their normal routine the following day. Please see “post-surgical instructions” for an instruction sheet given out after the procedure.
Will my surgery be covered by my insurance?
Most insurance carriers cover a portion of periodontal service. Please discuss insurance with the administrative staff in our office so that you are perfectly clear regarding your benefits. There are also various payment options.
Osseous Periodontal Surgery
When deep pockets between teeth and gums (6 millimeters or deeper) are present, it is difficult for a dentist to thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar. Gum flap surgery is a procedure where the gum flap is lifted away from the tooth. Diseased tissue and sometimes bone is removed. The rough surfaces of the tooth are then smoothed by root planing. The area is medicated and the gum flap is replaced and sutured allowing the bone and gum tissue to heal.
One of the goals of gum flap surgery is to reduce the depth of the periodontal pockets to make them easier to keep clean.
Functional Crown Lengthening
Periodontal procedures are available to lay the groundwork for restorative and cosmetic dentistry and/or to improve the esthetics of your gum line. Your teeth may actually be the proper lengths, but they are covered with too much gum tissue. Crown lengthening is a procedure to correct this condition.
During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is re-shaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even your gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile.
Crown lengthening can make a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure possible. Perhaps your tooth is decayed, broken below the gum line, or has insufficient tooth structure for a restoration, such as a crown or bridge. Crown lengthening adjusts the gum and bone level to expose more of the tooth so it can be restored.
When a tooth is lost, both bone and gum tissue compete for the vacant space. The gum tissue generates more quickly than bone, subsequently occupying the space. With a membrane placement we can keep the gum tissue from invading the space, which will ideally give the bone sufficient time to regenerate. Bone regeneration is often used to rebuild the supporting structures around the teeth, which have been destroyed by periodontal disease. Bone surgery may be used to attempt to rebuild or reshape bone. Grafts of the patient's bone or artificial bone may be used, as well as special membranes.
If a patient has an excess amount of tissue that connects the lower and upper lips to the jaw and gum line, a frenectomy procedure is performed to remove the excess tissue. A frenectomy is either performed inside the middle of the upper lip, which is called a labial frenectomy, or under the tongue, called a lingual frenectomy. Frenectomy is a very common dental procedure in the dental world and is performed both on children and adults.