Oral antibiotics, antibiotic mouthwash, and a professional cleaning can often quickly and effortlessly treat gum disease, but only if it is in its early stages. If your gum disease, or periodontal disease, has progressed into a severe case, you may need to undergo a surgical procedure known as surgical gum cleaning.
What is Surgical Gum Cleaning?
When your gums become infected, deep pockets of pus and bacteria form around your teeth. In the early stages of gum disease, these deep pockets can often be cleaned with a dental tool known as a manual scaler. However, if the infection is severe or has been left untreated for a while, the deep pockets can settle to the point that they can no longer be reached with a manual tool like the scaler. If this happens, the only way to access the deep periodontal pockets and clean them out is by performing gum surgery.
This type of surgery allows a periodontist to open up the gum tissue and gain access to the deep periodontal pockets. Once access is obtained to the deep pockets, the periodontist can clean out the infection by flushing the area with an antibacterial rinse and scraping off built-up plaque with a scaler. After the area is entirely cleaned out, your periodontist can repair any areas where there is a loss of bone or gum tissue has receded, close the area up with stitches, and allow you to heal.
A Brief Look at What Exactly Happens During Gum Cleaning Surgery
The entire goal of gum surgery is to create an access point in which the periodontist can reach the deep pockets of infection that lie beyond the reach of manual dental tools. At the beginning of the procedure, the periodontist will take small surgical tools and create tiny flaps along the gum tissue. These tiny flaps look very similar to what you would see on an envelope. They are placed along the gum tissue to allow the periodontist to reach the deep pockets.
Once the three-sided flap is created, your periodontist can quickly access the deep pockets. The deep pockets are flushed out with a specialized rinse which will get rid of bacteria and infection. A handheld scaler will also be used to remove plaque that built up around the teeth. At the end of the procedure, the periodontist will use dissolvable stitches to close up any of the flaps that have been created.
Depending upon how damaged or recessed your gums are, your periodontist may perform a tissue graft. A tissue graft procedure takes a small piece of tissue from another source, usually the roof of your mouth, and attaches it to the gums. Upon its attachment, the tissue will help encourage new gum tissue to grow back healthy and strong.
What to Expect During Surgical Gum Cleaning
If you need to undergo surgical gum cleaning, the following are things that will happen before, during, and after your procedure. Knowing what will happen and what you need to expect can help you prepare for the procedure.
Some things to expect if you need to undergo surgical gum cleaning include:
- Local anesthesia is often used to numb the area in which your periodontist may be working
- Occasionally, other sedation methods may be used to help keep you calm and relaxed during the procedure
- Gums will feel sore for several days after the procedure. OTC anti-inflammatory medication can be used to reduce any pain or discomfort
- Specialized cleaning instructions will be provided to you to help you protect the surgical site from any damage
- Follow up appointments may be needed with your periodontist to make sure the surgical site has properly healed and that the infection has been completely removed
- After the infection has been completely cleared and the surgical site is healed, staff at your periodontist office will recommend you schedule an appointment with a general dentist to monitor your process and make sure gum disease does not return
If your general dentist has mentioned you may need gum surgery, call Vero VIP Implants & Periodontics to schedule an appointment. Our experienced doctor can perform surgical gum cleaning, as well as gum tissue restoration. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.