Surgical Options For Treating Advanced Gum Disease

Posted on: 25 February 2015

Minor gum disease can often be treated by improved oral hygiene, a trip to the dentist and perhaps some antibiotics. But more severe cases of gum disease require heavier treatments. There are a variety of non-surgical options for moderate gum disease, but if your condition has progressed past that point, you might have a surgery in your near future.

Below are the surgical options for gum disease treatment:

Pocket Reduction Surgery

The entire mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria if proper oral hygiene isn't used. But the gums in particular tend to be forgotten in oral care and can become infected. If the infection is severe and recurring, the bone and tissue surrounding your teeth might loosen and form pockets. In these instances, it's likely your dentist will want to perform pocket reduction surgery.

The dentist will clean out the bacteria from inside the pocket before pulling the tissue tight and reattaching it around the tooth. If there was also damage to the bone, it might be necessary for the dentist to smooth down the bone in order to make the gum tissue fit tightly around the base of the tooth.

Bone Smoothing

The gums are pulled tighter at the end of pocket reduction surgery so that bacteria doesn't have room to fester in an area unreachable by a toothbrush. For that same reason, your dentist might want to smooth down any bone surrounding the infection that would provide another impossible to reach breeding ground for bacteria. 

While the gums are still pulled back for the pocket reduction surgery, your dentist can go into the space with specialized tools and smooth out the bone within. Then the gum is pulled back tight and reattached. This procedure can help prevent infections from recurring, and can help prevent that bacteria from causing any bone loss.

Bone or Tissue Grafts

Sometimes gum disease has already done so much damage to the gums or bone that you no longer have enough to perform a proper pocket reduction surgery or bone shaving. In these cases, your dentist might suggest a graft to strengthen the foundation of your mouth.

Bone grafts can use your own bone from other areas of the mouth or an artificial bone replacement. Soft tissue grafts splice in some tissue from the roof of your own mouth to fill in weak areas of the gum. Both of these procedures depend upon your body eventually regrowing around the implanted graft. This allows the organic growth of your mouth to have stronger footing and helps undo the damage of advanced gum disease.

For more help, contact a dentist who specializes in gum disease treatment, such as Dr. Scalzitti.