If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease and it’s gotten so severe that it can’t be reversed, your dentist may recommend you receive surgery. Opting for gum surgery has a multitude of benefits, including removing some bacteria that are under the gums, making it easier to keep your teeth clean, and preventing further gum damage.
Preparing for Gum Surgery
Your dentist will go over all of the necessary steps for you to take prior to your surgery. A few weeks before, you’ll most likely have to have to stop taking any medications or painkillers that can thin out your blood. 24 hours before, you should not partake in smoking or drinking. You may also be advised to take an antibiotic beforehand to lower your risk of infection. It’s important to follow any and all specific instructions your care team gives you.
Make sure to also arrange a ride to and from your procedure, as you shouldn’t operate a vehicle after being sedated.
Types of Gum Surgeries
This is a rather common gum procedure. The surgeon will make tiny incisions in the gums and lift back tissue so they can clean out tartar and bacteria from behind the gum. After the gums are sutured back, they’ll fit better around your teeth and will be much easier to clean.
This type of procedure is done if the gum disease has progressed to a point where the bone surrounding the tooth root has been damaged. The bone itself may have to be replaced with a graft, which can be made from a very small part of your own bone, donated bone, or synthetic bone.
This procedure can even promote your natural bone to grow and helps prevent the affected teeth from falling out.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
If you have gum disease, the bone in your gums breaks down. This procedure stimulates the bone to re-grow. It’s done by opening up the gum flaps and putting a membrane over the damaged bone. With the proper oral care routine and sufficient visits to your dentist, your bone should grow back and gum disease should stay at bay.
Soft Tissue Graft
A common occurrence with periodontitis is a receding gum line. In order to tackle that, a soft tissue graft can restore some of the gum line that has receded. For this procedure, the dentist will take a small piece of tissue from either the roof of your mouth or a piece of tissue from a donor. They will then put it on the areas where there isn’t already enough gum tissue, and the gum line will be restored.
Regardless of which gum procedure you received, you will most likely experience a period of recovery and downtime afterward so your mouth can heal properly. Your exact recovery experience will depend on many factors, such as how invasive the procedure was, your general health, and how severe your condition was.
You can expect some minor swelling, bleeding, or discomfort, which can be managed by icing the areas of pain or taking OTC pain medications. You may be advised to take antibiotics or use a special mouthwash to prevent an infection. It’s also highly advised to avoid smoking as well as brushing or flossing in the areas of the mouth that were treated for several days after.
For about a week or two after the procedure, you should eat soft foods such as Jell-O, soups, yogurt, smoothies, and mashed potatoes.
If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease and haven’t been able to reverse it, we may recommend a consultation for one of these procedures. Our experienced, board-certified dentists and surgeons have performed countless successful procedures on patients just like you. To learn more about the options to treat your periodontitis, give our Chicago restorative dentistry a call today.