As the name implies, gum surgery is more serious than gum grafting. This is usually utilized when periodontitis is present and severe. In all cases, damage to the gums, teeth and roots must be present and it is generally considered a last resort.
It includes reparative surgery as well as reconstructive. It may include repairing gum tissue as well as grafting. It can be cosmetic, although, in most cases it is not.
As with gingival grafting, “gum surgery” covers a number of different techniques:
Flap Surgery: This is when gums are separated from the teeth for cleaning and then stitched back into place. Bone reshaping can be done during this procedure. It is generally not done unless there are periodontic pockets of infection or bacterial infestation.
Gingivectomy: This includes removing excess gum tissue for cosmetic reasons as well as with some patients to help them better clean their teeth.
Gingivoplasty: A gingivoplasty reshapes the gum tissue for a more appealing look. This is often done in coordination with gum grafting.
Graft: When this is done, new gum tissue is sutured onto existing gum tissue. It is often done to treat recessive gum lines.
Gum Regeneration: When regeneration is implemented, gum tissue is folded back and bacteria is removed. This also can include bone grafts, membrane repair and injection of tissue stimulating proteins.
Reasonable Expectations: Gum surgery always starts with teeth cleaning. A local anesthetic is applied (a general anesthetic is used in some cases) and the surgery is commenced. Once completed, the gums are sutured back into place and aftercare is started.
Aftercare includes rest, antibiotics, eating restrictions and specific oral hygiene activities (such as rinsing out the mouth using an oral antiseptic rinse.) Recovery is dependent on the patient and their adherence to the aftercare regimen.
With all gum surgery, non-surgical treatment will be tried first and the surgery will always be a last resort, even in cases of cosmetic surgery.