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Basic Information About Gingival Flap Surgery

During Gingival flap surgery, the gums are folded back away from the teeth in order to expose the bone and roots of each tooth.  In some cases, this procedure may be used in conjunction with bone (osseous) surgery.  This procedure is usually recommended for individuals with advanced peridontitis.

Gingival Flap Surgery: Why is Procedure Performed?

When you have advanced peridontitis (gum disease), it may be necessary to peel back the gums in order to treat underlying infection.  This includes removing diseased tissue, as well as searching for bone and other malformations that contribute to the gum issues. Prior to Gingival flap surgery, your dentist will try other treatments.  This includes root planing and scaling. 

Gingival Flap Surgery: Patient Concerns to be Addressed

Before having Gingival flap surgery, all of the tartar (calculus), and plaque will be removed from your teeth and gums.  A periodontist will also make sure that your oral hygiene is good before scheduling you for surgery.  It may also be necessary to have a health evaluation before you can have this procedure. 

Gingival Flap Surgery: How is Procedure Performed?

To begin, your periodontist will make sure that the surgical site is numb.  He/she will then pull the gum away from the teeth using a scalpel.  Once the gum forms a flap, the peridontist will then examine the exposed bone and roots.  If there is inflamed tissue between the teeth, the periodontist will remove it.  Depending on the situation, inflamed gum tissue may also have to be removed from holes in the bone. 

While the roots and bone are exposed, your periodontist will also use scaling and root planing procedures to clean any remaining tartar and plaque.  In addition, any rough bone edges or defects will be made smooth.  Osseous recontouring is usually accomplished with rotating burs and files. 

After the roots, bone, and gum tissue have been modified, the periodontist will move the gums back into position around the teeth, and use stitches to hold them in place.  Your dentist may use self-dissolving stitches, or ask you to return in a week to 10 days to remove them, as well as to check on your progress.  In some cases, the peridontist may also cover the surgical site with a periodontal pack or bandage.

Gingival Flap Surgery: Post-Operative Concerns

While you may have some discomfort after Gingival flap surgery, most people manage with over-the counter pain medications.  Your dentist can also give you a prescription for something stronger.  An ice pack can also be used to help reduce swelling.  You may also experience some bleeding after surgery.

After surgery, it is vital to make sure that your mouth stays clean.  Aside from following normal oral hygiene for the rest of your mouth, you may also need to rinse with chlorhexidine.  This is an antimicrobial ingredient that will help reduce the risk of infection.  Unfortunately, they will not rid your mouth of plaque.  If the surgical site is not covered by a bandage, use a toothbrush to remove plaque.  Depending on your situation, the dentist may also give you antibiotics.  

Gingival Flap Surgery: Perils of Disease

During the first 48 hours after the procedure, it is fairly common to experience pain and minor bleeding.  If bleeding continues, or gets worse, you will need to let your periodontist know.  Regardless of whether it is caused by an infection, or some other issue, ti needs to be addressed immediately. 

Once your gums heal, they may continue to recede.  In addition, teeth located in the surgical area may become more sensitive to cold and hot temperatures.  You also run an increased risk of developing cavities in the roots of affected teeth.