Untreated gum disease, or periodontal disease, causes your gums to become infected and ultimately damaged. If it progresses, you may require surgery to correct the damage and restore the health and look of your smile.
If you need gum surgery in Rochester, you may feel nervous. But you’re in good hands with the team of professionals at Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester. We’ll explain the types of gum surgery, what’s involved in them, and what to expect during recovery.
Reasons for Gum Surgery
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that affects many people. If it’s not treated, it progresses and can lead to persistent infection, receding gums, bone loss, and loose or missing teeth from damaged bone and tissue.
Periodontitis, the severe form of gum disease, requires a visit to a periodontist. The treatment options depend on the severity, but gum surgery may be recommended to stop the progression of the disease and restore damaged bone and tissue.
Periodontitis is not the only reason for gum surgery. Some patients choose to undergo cosmetic gum surgery for a gummy smile or a condition in which the gums cover too much of their teeth.
Who’s a Candidate for Gum Surgery?
People with severe periodontitis around their gums and tissues are usually candidates for gum surgery. This often includes symptoms like deep pockets between the gums and teeth, red, swollen, or bleeding gums, pain while chewing, loose teeth, bad breath, and receding gums.
Your periodontist will let you know if periodontal surgery is right for you.
Types of Gum Surgery
Advanced periodontal disease may require surgery to treat the damage.
Gum Graft Surgery
Exposed tooth roots are caused by gum recession. Gum graft surgery covers the exposed root to prevent bone loss and further gum recession.
The periodontist takes the gum tissue from the healthy gum tissue from the roof of your mouth and grafts it onto the area where the gum is receding. Gum graft surgery can be performed on the gum tissue near one tooth or multiple teeth to improve the smile’s look and reduce tooth sensitivity.
Dental Crown Lengthening
People with a “gummy” smile have teeth that look short because of an excess in the gum tissue. To improve the smile’s aesthetics, periodontists can perform a dental crown lengthening procedure.
During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue are reshaped to expose the natural tooth. This can be done on one tooth or several teeth to expose more of the natural smile. Dental crown lengthening may also be used to prepare for a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure and expose enough teeth for restoration.
Regenerative procedures are used when the bone supporting the teeth has been destroyed by advanced periodontal disease. The procedure is intended to restore lost bone and tissue to reverse some of the damage.
During a regenerative gum procedure, the periodontist gently folds back the gum tissue and removes the bacteria. Then, bone grafts, membranes, or tissue-stimulating proteins are used to encourage the body’s natural bone and tissue regeneration.
Periodontal Pocket Procedures
Healthy gums should fit flush around the teeth. With periodontal disease, the supporting gum, bone, and connective tissue recede and erode, forming pockets around the teeth. Left untreated, the pockets only get deeper, leaving more space for bacteria to accumulate under the gum tissue, further eroding the bone and tissue. Eventually, the teeth will become loose and may need to be extracted or they may fall out.
For the periodontal pocket procedure, the periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the bacteria before securing the gum into place. If the surface of the bone is rough, it’s smoothed to reduce the accumulation of bacteria. Then the periodontist will reattach the gum tissue to the bone, allowing for everything to heal.
What to Expect with Gum Surgery – Anesthesia
Before any gum surgery, the periodontist will thoroughly clean your teeth and apply a local anesthetic to numb the area and you should not feel any pain during the procedure.
Recovery from Gum Surgery
The recovery time for your gum surgery will depend on the type of procedure, but most recovery periods last one or two weeks. You will likely need to use an antiseptic mouthwash to keep your mouth clean and prevent infection. You may be prescribed antibiotics or a prescription antiseptic mouth rinse, as well.
Limit food to soft foods for the first few days, such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese, or pasta. Depending on how extensive the surgery was, you may need to avoid very hot foods or foods that require a lot of chewing, such as steak. You should also refrain from strenuous exercise for a few days.
If you use tobacco, stop your use throughout the recovery process. Smoking or chewing tobacco can interfere with how your body heals, particularly for your gums.
Your periodontist will give you specific aftercare instructions to ensure you heal as quickly and comfortably as possible.
Does Gum Surgery Hurt?
Generally, gum surgery is not painful because of the use of anesthetics. You shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure itself, though you may be uncomfortable during recovery. Most people can manage their pain with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Gum Surgery in Rochester
Good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist keep your teeth healthy and looking good. But good oral hygiene is about more than your teeth – your gums need special care to prevent gum disease or catch it early. Contact us at Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester to schedule your appointment! Call 585-685-2005.