If you have a serious gum infection, known as periodontal disease, Dr. Pawlus may recommend periodontal (gum) surgery. The most common cause of gum disease is when excessive bacteria builds up in your mouth and creates excess plaque and your body is unable to fight the infection. Periodontal (gum) disease can be a very aggressive infection. During this inflammatory process, the gums begin to separate from the teeth, which causes spaces called pockets to develop, which in turn trap bacteria and lead to infection.
Left untreated, it can destroy the vital periodontal structures that protect teeth and maintain their attachment to the jaw. Furthermore, if left untreated, gum disease may lead to the development of a variety of health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and certain types of cancers. Controlling gum disease and ultimately restoring health and appearance to damaged gums and tooth-supporting bone requires aggressive treatment—sometimes even surgical measures.
People with severe, or advanced, disease around their gums and the tissues that support their teeth are usually good candidates for periodontal surgery.
If you have gum disease, your symptoms may include:
- gums that are swollen, red, or bleeding
- deep pockets that form between your gums and teeth
- loose teeth
- pain when chewing
- bad breath
- gums that recede or pull away from your teeth
Gum surgery can:
- regrow damaged bones and tissues
- prevent tooth loss
- reduce gum gaps between teeth, known as black triangles
- reshape the jaw hone to lower the risk for bacterial growth in bone crevices
- eliminate bacteria and infection
- make it easier to clean your teeth
- prevent future gum damage
The kind of corrective gum surgery you need will depend on the type and severity of your gum disease.
Flap surgery is especially helpful for people who have tartar deposits in deep pockets. The procedure involves lifting the gums off the teeth to remove tartar buildup.
Bone grafting is used when the bone that surrounds the root of the tooth is damaged or destroyed. This procedure involves replacing the damaged bone with new bone. The goal of bone grafting is to hold the tooth in place and help it to regrow.
Guided tissue regeneration is when a small piece of mesh-like material is placed between a person’s bone and gum tissue. The material prevents the gum from growing into space where bone should be, allowing the bone and connective tissue to regrow.
Tissue grafting is used for gum line recession. During this procedure, tissue is typically removed from one part of the body and re-attached to the area where the gum has receded. The tissue often comes from the roof of the mouth.
Gum disease can become a serious health condition affecting the teeth, gums, and bones, leading to infection and bone and tissue death. While gum disease treatment, including surgery, isn’t a cure—the prospect for re-occurrence is always there, proper hygiene and maintenance by both you and Dr. Pawlus can go a long way in preventing a reoccurrence of gum disease. Proper oral care will allow you to keep your natural teeth for as long as possible—maybe even for life.