Periodontal Surgery

Your periodontist has examined your periodontal condition and recommended surgery for you.

Why do I need periodontal surgery?

Surgery has been recommended to correct or improve a periodontal problem that is affecting your oral health. The choice of surgical technique depends on the severity of the disease and other conditions in your mouth.

As you probably have learned by now, the main cause of periodontal disease is plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed thoroughly, toxins or poisons produced by bacteria in the plaque irritate the gums and destroy supporting tissues around the teeth, forming pockets. Eventually the plaque hardens into a rough deposit called calculus or tartar. Over time, as more plaque and calculus builds up; the gums continue to pull away from the teeth. Gum and bone attachment to the teeth continues to be destroyed. Plaque moves down the roots of the teeth, resulting in infection which may cause more serious damage to the bone that supports your teeth. Affected teeth can become loose and eventually may be lost. Your periodontist may recommend surgery to attempt to regenerate or “regroup” gum and bone tissue so you can keep your natural teeth.

Will it hurt?

You should feel little or no discomfort during the procedure. Your periodontist will use an anesthetic to numb the surgical area. There are many techniques available for relieving anxiety during surgery. You can speak to your periodontist about these options. Following surgery, the affected area will be tender or sore. Swelling of the surgical area may occur. The doctor will prescribe medications to relive post-surgical discomfort. Antibiotics or antibacterial rinses also may be prescribed. If you take medications as directed and follow your periodontist’s instructions you probably will experience only minor discomfort. Most patients resume their normal routines the day after surgery.

Will I be able to speak and eat normally after surgery?

You should be able to speak normally after the anesthetic has worn off. It is important to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet after surgery. You may need to avoid chewing some foods in the surgical area for a few days.

Following some types of periodontal surgery, the teeth may be more sensitive to hot and cold. This will diminish considerably during the first few weeks after surgery.

When will I need to return to my periodontist?

Usually patients return for post-surgical treatment in five to ten days. At this time, it may be necessary to remove any stitches and cleanse the surgical area.

Will I ever need surgery again?

In most instances you will not need surgery in the same area again. However, in certain cases, re-treatment or additional surgery may be needed. As you have learned, you may be prone to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic disease that requires constant and careful attention. Like other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma, there is no cure. Periodontal surgery helps control the disease and prevents further destruction to the gums and bone, thereby minimizing tooth loss.

What can I do to help control the disease?

Periodontal disease can and will recur if you do not follow a strict program of supportive periodontal therapy. You play the major role in preventing further destruction of the disease. Nothing will help you maintain the results of professional treatment better than daily removal of plaque by proper brushing, flossing and other cleaning methods recommended for you.

There are many benefits to safeguarding your periodontal health. By retaining your natural teeth, you can chew more comfortably and enjoy better digestion. You also keep a healthy smile which is a natural asset to your appearance. For feeling good and looking good, nothing works better than your natural teeth. When your efforts are combined with regular visits to your dentist and periodontist, you have an excellent chance of keeping your teeth for a lifetime.

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