Smiling female dentist procedure of teeth cleaning

Surgical Cleaning 101

Minor gum disease can often be successfully treated by making simple changes to your oral care routine and getting a professional cleaning. On the other hand, it isn’t quite as easy to treat severe cases of gum disease. Surgery is often the best, and sometimes, the only treatment option for severe gum disease.

If your periodontist has recommended surgical cleaning, you may be wondering what is involved with this type of procedure. The following guide will outline what you can expect to experience when undergoing surgical cleaning for severe gum disease.

Treating Severe Gum Disease is a Two-Step Process

Treating severe gum disease is a two-step process. First, the infection must be removed and the teeth and gums must be properly cleaned. After a complete cleaning, the teeth and gums are left to heal and the second stage of the treatment process begins – the maintenance phase.

Before undergoing surgery to treat your gum disease, your periodontist will discuss what is involved with the first step of the treatment process. They might also have a discussion about the maintenance phase that will also occur. Your periodontist will discuss what types of treatment will be involved with the maintenance phase and how often treatment will occur.

Why is Surgery Needed to Treat Severe Gum Disease?

The only way severe gum disease can be treated is to completely remove the infection, bacteria, or plaque that caused the infection to form. When you have minor gum disease, your gums may be slightly irritated and inflamed, but there isn’t a huge infection that has formed.

With severe gum disease, an infection has formed in the gums. A regular professional dental cleaning and a more complex procedure known as scaling and root planing can clean the infection and irritation on the surface of the gums and teeth. However, these procedures cannot clean the deep layers of the gum.

The goal of gum disease surgical treatment is to achieve the following:

  • Help with regrowing any damaged tissue or bones
  • Prevent tooth loss caused by extreme gum disease or inflammation
  • Reduce gaps that have formed between the gum line of teeth
  • Reshape the shape of teeth and jaw bone so that there are fewer small areas where bacteria can grow
  • Properly remove and eliminate infections and harmful bacteria

What to Expect During Surgical Cleaning

Before your surgical cleaning begins, you will be given something to relax. Most patients prefer using IV sedation, as it completely relaxes you. Plus, this allows the periodontist to complete the procedure with no interruptions. However, some patients prefer to nitrous oxide sedation.

After being given the IV sedation or nitrous oxide sedation, your periodontist will use an anesthetic to numb the area where the surgery will occur to help block out any pain.

Once the area is numbed, the surgical procedure can begin. Your periodontist will use a small laser or specialized dental tool to create an incision between your teeth and gums. The incision will create a small flap that allows your periodontist to reach the roots of your teeth.

Once the roots of your teeth are exposed, your periodontist will work to remove any tartar that has built up on the teeth. While the roots are exposed, your periodontist may also reshape the tooth so there aren’t any notches or crevices where bacteria can hide and cause an infection. Your periodontist may also use an antibiotic rinse to treat any existing infections.

After the tooth and gums have been completely cleaned, your periodontist will stitch the gum back into place around your tooth.

What Happens After Surgical Cleaning?

There is a brief recovery period after your surgical cleaning. During the recovery period, you may be advised to avoid eating or drinking certain things and brushing your teeth near the surgical area.

Once your recovery period is over, it is important that you practice good oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing and flossing daily and scheduling regular appointments with your general dentist and periodontist.

Have additional questions about surgical cleaning or scaling and root planing? Contact Vero VIP Implants & Periodontics to schedule a consultation with our experienced periodontist.