What is periodontal surgery?

Periodontal surgery is a category of dental surgery that deals with treating the structures that support and surround the base of the tooth, including the gums, bone and mucous lining of the mouth.

Who needs periodontal surgery?

Periodontal surgery may be necessary or recommended for both clinical and esthetic reasons. When gum tissue covers too much of the root of a tooth, this makes it difficult to clean off plaque from the base, which in turn can lead to periodontal disease. Patients often require periodontal surgery because an infection is already present, but the treatment can also be used as a preventative measure to correct anatomical or developmental structures.

Common symptoms of gum disease

Indications that gum disease is present due to periodontal issues include:

  • swollen, red or bleeding gums
  • deep pockets have formed between the gums and teeth
  • loose teeth
  • discomfort while chewing
  • bad breath

Types of periodontal surgery

Periodontal surgery will typically only be recommended when less invasive treatments have not resolved the issue. There are three primary categories of periodontal surgery:

  • Gingival flap surgery, also known as a gum lift, involves the removal of gum tissue surrounding the base of the teeth. The idea is to recontour the gum line to correct oversized gums, create a more natural looking smile, and expose more tooth surface for easier cleaning.
  • Mucogingival surgery is used when gums have receded too far due to over brushing, anatomical structure, or periodontitis. This procedure involves the transfer of a small amount of gum tissue to the problem area to thicken the gums.
  • Osseous surgery pertains to the restoration of bone tissue damaged as a result of periodontal disease. Osseous surgery can include bone grafting, guided tissue regeneration and bone shaping.

Candidates for periodontal surgery?

Candidates for periodontal surgery are patients who meet one or more criteria from the common symptoms of gum disease above or who have an esthetic issue they would like to fix. While some periodontal surgery may be performed by your dentist, you may also be referred out to an oral surgeon, depending on your unique case.