Gum surgery is used to treat gum disease in cases when the tissue around the teeth is unhealthy and unable to be repaired through non-surgical treatments.

Gum surgery can also be performed for cosmetic reasons, as a way of elongating teeth and improving the architecture of the gums.

Whether you’re undertaking gum surgery as a way to treat gum disease or you’re choosing it for cosmetic reasons, Dental O So Gentle’s dentists are experienced and qualified in performing gum surgery.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease and is caused by an infection of the bones and tissues that support and surround the teeth. There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. While gingivitis is the more mild of the two, periodontitis is severe and can spread beyond the gums and cause damage to the surrounding bone and tissues.

What is gum surgery exactly?

There are a few types of gum surgery and each case requires a customised surgery to suit the specific requirements of that situation.

Flap surgery/ pocket reduction surgery – this procedure is the removal of tartar from underneath the gums and the reduction in the size of the space between the gum and teeth. This surgery is performed to decrease harmful bacteria growth and to prevent further health problems. In certain cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone can be smoothed over, to help and reduce the amount of places in which bacteria can reside.

Soft tissue grafts – this type of gum surgery is undertaken in the event where the gums have receded too far or are too thin. A graft tissue, removed from the roof of the mouth, is then stitched on to the area that has been affected. This grafting process allows the lost dental arch tissue to be restored and improves the aesthetic appeal of the gum area around the tooth.

Guided tissue regeneration – this procedure occurs when the bone that supports the tooth is destroyed. The aim of this surgery is to stimulate bone and gum tissue growth. A small piece of mesh like fabric is inserted between the bone and gum tissue, often done in combination with flap surgery. This prevents tissue growth in the area where the bone needs to regenerate, allowing for the regrowth of bone and connective tissue to support the teeth.

Bone Surgery – Bone surgery is performed after flap surgery has already been done. The bone is reshaped to rid the surface of any craters that may promote bacteria collection and growth.

What can I expect from gum surgery?

If you’re preparing to undergo gum surgery here is what to expect:

  • Before the surgery – your dentist will clean your teeth to ensure that it is in the best state possible to receive surgical treatment. You will then be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area.
  • During the surgery – your dentist will fold the gums back to form a flap that allows access to the tissue below the gums. This infected tissue will be removed and the appropriate tooth will be scaled to remove plaque and bacteria that might be growing beneath the gum line. This process will also smooth out rough spots that would otherwise promote gum disease reoccurrence.
  • After the surgery – once the surgery is complete, your dentist will put the gums back into place using stitches. The stitches are resorbable and will dissolve by themselves.

Is there any long-term pain after the surgery?

Most people experience only mild to moderate pain, which can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers. If you experience moderate swelling we recommend the application of an ice pack to the swollen area. If you’re taking antibiotics as per your dentist’s instruction, make sure to follow the instructions carefully.

It is not uncommon for there to be bleeding or swelling after gum surgery, however if these symptoms persist or if any other problems arise, make sure to contact your dentist immediately.