3 Questions You May Have About Gum Surgery

24 September 2018
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Are your gum tissues receding, infected, or otherwise in bad shape? If so, you may need to look into gum (periodontal) surgery. There are many kinds of treatments, so here are a few answers to questions you may have.

What Can Gum Surgery Fix?

Gum surgery can benefit you in both cosmetic and functional ways. Different gum surgeries can be used to:

  • Reduce gum recession and tooth loss
  • Fix damaged tissues and bone with grafts
  • Make your smile less "gummy" with excisions
  • Reduce the appearance of large teeth through grafts
  • Reduce bacterial infections

Can You Have Surgery Done at Your General Dentist's Office?

Sometimes, you can have a gum treatment done at your general dentist's office. For instance, many general dentists and hygienists can perform scaling and root planing (SRP). During SRP, your gum pockets are cleaned of bacteria. SRP is a great way to treat early stages of gum disease. However, some general dentists may refer you to a periodontist if you have an advanced case.

Some general dentists may not employ enough hygienists and may only have dental assistants, so they don't have enough auxiliary support for surgery. While hygienists go to dental schools, dental assistants have shorter education standards and typically do not work below the gumline when assisting the dentist.

If you have a very specific surgical need, like gum contorting, you may need to seek out a dental specialist. The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes nine dental specialties for dentists who have received further training. Specialists like cosmetic dentists, periodontists, and oral/maxillofacial surgeons can all perform gum surgeries. You may need to see one or more of these specialty dentists to get the help you need.

How Can You Best Prepare for Surgery?

First, make sure that your dentist has a full medical history so that he or she can rule out any contraindications that could affect your success rates or recovery. For instance, if you have a dental abscess, you'll need to have that taken care of first or surgery could be dangerous.

Make sure that you understand the anesthetic needs. For instance, some surgeries can be done with minimal numbing, but some gum surgeries can take about two hours and require that you be put under, so you'll need a friend or family member to drive you home.

Print out your after-care instructions so that you can ask your dentist any questions you might have. After-care instructions vary by surgery, but you will likely will need to do things like

  • Eat soft foods
  • Avoid hot food or drinks
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid strenuous activity
  • Take an antiseptic mouthwash

For more information on gum surgery treatment services, contact a dentist in your local area today.