If a thorough examination by your dentist determines that you need gum surgery, you will probably be referred to a periodontist, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of gum disease.
There are several types of gum surgery. Gingival flap surgery is the type often used to treat gum disease. If you’re scheduled to undergo gingival flap surgery, here’s what to expect:
- Before the surgery: Before any gum surgery, you will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area. Also, your periodontist (or dental hygienist) will clean your teeth. You should expect your periodontist to ask about any medications and chronic health conditions that may impact the surgery.
- During the surgery: The surgeon folds the gums back to form a flap in order to access the tissue below the gums. The infected tissue below and between the teeth is removed, and the surgeon then follows with tooth scaling and root planing to remove plaque and bacteria below the gumline. The scaling and planing will also smooth rough spots on the tooth roots that could promote recurrence of the gum disease.
- After the surgery: The surgeon will put the gums back in place using stitches. The stitches may be dissolvable, or you may have to have them removed when you return for a surgery follow-up visit in seven to 10 days. The surgeon may also place a special surgical dressing called a periodontal pack, over the affected area.
Most people have only mild to moderate pain after surgery that can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. If you develop moderate swelling, try applying an ice pack to the area. And if your periodontist recommends antibiotics, be sure to follow the instructions carefully. There is some risk of bleeding and swelling after gum surgery-contact your periodontist immediately if you experience problems.