If you have the misfortune to have advanced periodontitis (gum disease), then you know that you’re at risk of losing your teeth. The bone tissue and ligaments that surround your teeth are dying, and if the disease isn’t controlled by non-invasive treatments like scaling and cleaning, then you may need surgery.
The best treatment for advanced gum disease today is flap surgery. It repairs the periodontal pockets, which are the areas located below the gum line, where the teeth and the gum tissue have become detached. This results in a place that can’t be cleaned, where bacteria live and cause pain and loss of bone structure.
So, how is this treated? Usually, your dentist will attempt scaling (also called debridement) and cleaning. If that doesn’t work, then surgery will be considered. The surgery alone won’t cure the periodontal disease, but it will create a healthier environment in your mouth.
The main purpose of periodontal surgery is to get rid of those nasty little pockets. To do that, your dental surgeon will make an incision in the tissue of your gum, with the goal of removing the diseased tissue that’s inside the pocket. The root of the tooth will be accessed and cleaned, and the harmful bacteria removed. Then, the flap will be closed. The area will be sealed, and the healing process will begin.
During the course of the disease, bone tissue and periodontal ligaments may have been lost. Your dental surgeon will want to restore those lost areas, and may employ bone grafting techniques to restore your gums to their original state. Usually this will be done under local anesthesia. Once it takes effect, the surgeon will make a little incision that separates your gums from your teeth, and then will gently fold back the gum to allow access to the ligaments, bone tissue and roots that need to be repaired. The inflamed gum tissue will then be removed, the roots cleaned, and the diseased area treated with medications. Then the incision will be closed.
Does this sound scary? It doesn’t have to be. When the procedure is done by a competent practitioner, it’s easy and offers many benefits. In fact, it’s the treatment of choice for most types of periodontal disease, and can help you to maintain your oral health and preserve your teeth well into old age.
Text Copyright © 2015 Louis K. Cheung DDS PS – All rights reserved. Images used under license from Dear Doctor, Inc.