Periodontal flap surgery, also known as gum flap surgery, reduces periodontal pockets, which develop below the surface of your gum line in the advanced stages of gum disease. These pockets fill with bacteria, tartar, and plaque, and attack your gum and bone tissue. Periodontal pockets cannot be reached with a toothbrush and floss alone, so periodontal flap surgery is necessary to avoid further infection in the gums and mouth.
Periodontal flap surgery primarily treats severe gum disease; however, there are other issues that it can help with as well. A patient must have at least one of these conditions to be considered for a periodontal flap surgery:
- Necrotizing gingivitis: This condition causes the death of gum tissue, which leads to deep craters forming on your gums.
- Inflammation: Swollen, red, or bleeding gums that persist around periodontal pockets.
- Irregular bone contours: Treatment of jawbone defects.
- Periodontal pockets: Pockets that fill with bacteria, tartar, and plaque, and attack your gum and bone tissue.
- Loose teeth: Advanced gum disease causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, which decreases the support that holds your teeth in place.
- Halitosis: Treatment of chronic bad breath.
- Receding gums: Gum disease eats away at your gum tissue and exposes more of your tooth root.
- Response to non-surgical procedures: If your dentist has exhausted all non-surgical procedure options to treat your oral problem, periodontal flap surgery may then be considered.
Periodontal Flap Procedure
First, a local anesthetic will be used on your gums to numb the area. After the local anesthesia has taken effect, your periodontist will begin by making an incision into your gums. This allows for the gums to be pushed away from the teeth, allowing easier access to the tooth roots, ligaments, and surrounding bone tissue.
Your periodontist will then make an interdental incision, which is a small cut between your teeth, and begin removing inflamed gum tissue. Then, they will thoroughly clean the tooth roots of any remaining debris through root planing and scaling. If periodontist finds significant bone loss, they might recommend bone grafts to encourage bone tissue to regenerate.
Once all inflamed tissue has been removed, your periodontist will stitch all incisions with dissolvable or non-resorbable sutures. They may also use fibrin glue as sutures can sometimes also cause the gums to inflame. A follow-up appointment will also be scheduled to ensure that the healing process is occurring normally.