Gum disease affects more than half of adults in the United States and requires a dentist’s assistance to eradicate it. If you ignore periodontal concerns, this infection of the gum tissue will progress and could leave you with severe and irreversible damage to your smile.
A dentist can treat many cases of gum disease with thorough in-office cleaning known as scaling and root planing. But this conservative approach will not always work. In more severe gum disease cases, a dentist might need to do gum flap surgery.
This procedure involves a dentist cutting into the damaged gum tissue to remove the infected areas and clean deep within the gum pockets. Patients might worry about the invasiveness of this treatment. And therefore, they will wonder at what point they will require this procedure. Read on to learn about two of the primary instances in which a patient will need gum flap surgery.
Who Requires Gum Flap Surgery?
Advanced Gum Disease Cases
A dentist will recommend gum flap surgery for patients with severely advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis. This develops when the infection progresses beyond the gum tissue to the jawbone.
Early stages of gum disease present with inflammation in the gums, but advanced gum disease has bacteria eating away at the gums, teeth, and jawbone. You could see significant gum recession and have a high risk of tooth loss at this phase.
In order to access the deep parts of the mouth where the infection penetrated, the dentist will need to cut into the gum tissue. Then they can clear out the infection, including from damaged bone tissue. They may need to give you a gum graft to restore your dental structure after this treatment.
The removal of diseased gum tissue is known as a gingivectomy, and it can improve overall gum health by stimulating tissue growth afterward. Osseous surgery refers to the treatment of gum pockets to get rid of bacterial deposits and then contour the gums to reduce the pocket size. This can help to prevent future problems with periodontal disease.
Gum Disease Unresponsive to Non-Invasive Treatment
A dentist may also suggest gum flap surgery to patients with gum disease that is more moderate than severe. They will begin with non-invasive solutions, like scaling and root planing, with these cases. The dentist might also give them an antibacterial rinse to balance the patient’s oral bacteria.
But the infection might not go away with this conservative treatment method. Persistent or aggressive gum disease will need further intervention. In this case, a dentist might suggest surgical solutions to get rid of the infection before it gets any worse and leads to major dental damage.
Gum disease is easier to cure when diagnosed and treated in its early stages. So if you notice any issues in your gums, talk to your dentist as soon as you can. Then you can better steer clear of severe oral health problems like tooth loss related to gum disease.