Gum Surgery to Treat Periodontal Gum Disease: A Guide
Do you have questions about Periodontal Gum Disease? Do you wonder how gum surgery can help you live a more fulfilled, happy life? We know you have concerns, and we want to make you as informed as possible in order to make the best decisions that are right for you. We’re here for you with your journey towards better oral health.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, in a mild form is referred to as “Gingivitis” and its symptoms include gums that are red, swollen and bleed easily. Pain is not usually associated with gingivitis, except if you brush or floss the inflamed tissue. Gingivitis is treatable with better oral hygiene at home as well as professional care. The second more serious form of gum disease is periodontitis.
Periodontitis occurs when plaque turns to tartar and spreads below the gum line. The toxins from the bacteria that exists within the plaque which causes further irritation to the gums. Your body’s natural self-defense mechanisms kick in stimulating an inflammatory response and it breaks down the supporting tissue and bone which support the teeth, leading to their destruction. The gums separate from the teeth, leaving them open to deeper infection forming gum pockets. These gum pockets become deeper as more tissue and bone is destroyed. Even tho symptoms generally are mild, or there are none, tooth loss is much more likely to occur.
What causes gum disease?
Essentially, bacteria. We always have bacteria of some form in our bodies, literally thousands in our mouths and when bad bacteria accumulates this is when plaque begins to form. Plaque is generally hard to see visibly, and regularly brushing and flossing knock off these bacteria. Stubborn plaque that hardens becomes what is known as “tartar” and must be removed by a professional. As the plaque builds up, it contains harmful bacteria that can cause gum disease.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
You have to be evaluated by a professional to know for sure, but here are some symptoms you may be experiencing.
- Gums that bleed easily and are sore, swollen or tender
- Gums that look more red than usual
- Teeth sensitivity
- Problems when chewing
- Loose teeth
- Gums that receding from teeth
- Your bite doesn’t come together the way it normally does
It’s important to remember that gum disease doesn’t fit a specific age or demographic, it can affect anyone. However, here are some signs that you may be at higher risk:
- Poor oral hygiene, failure to brush and floss regularly
- Hormonal changes and fluctuations, such as pregnancy
- Side effects from certain medications
- Genetic predisposition
Women and Gum Disease
There are a number of factors when it comes to gum disease that affect men and women differently. Here are several things that can affect women:
- MenstruationSome women can experience gum disease during menstruation. Symptoms can include bleeding gums and sores on the inside of the cheek and this usually clears up once her period begins.
- PubertyDuring puberty, women experience a surge of hormones. This can cause an increase in blood circulation to the gum areas leading to excessive irritation.
- MenopauseMany women who go through menopause experience a change in their mouths experiencing dry mouth, burning sensations, or altered taste when eating. Your gums may look dry or bleed easily.
Men and Gum Disease
Research has showed us that gum disease is higher in men than in women, sometimes by up to 20 percent! Including regularity of dentist visits as well as these other reasons cause it.
- Heart Disease
Numerous studies have showed us a strong correlation between gum disease and heart disease in men, so strong oral health is of the utmost importance.
- Prostate Health
There is also a strong link between prostate issues and gum disease.
Studies show us that men with chronic gum disease are more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums.
What is Gum Surgery?
It is referred to as Periodontal Surgery, and a series treatment or procedures to treat the soft tissues around the teeth and the supporting bone.
Why you may need gum surgery
Even though you take care of your oral health with maintenance at home and regular dental visits, sometimes surgery is still necessary. Once your gums become infected or inflamed, they must be professionally treated; otherwise the conditions will generally worsen. If your gum and bone health is suffering, professional and home care coaching, help to get you back to the best health for your mouth.
Types of Gum Surgery
- Pocket reduction
Your specialist folds back the gums, removes bacteria, and the gum tissues is secured back against the teeth.
Here, your surgeon folds back the gums, removes the harmful bacteria, then inserts bone regeneration or tissue-stimulating proteins to encourage your gums to regenerate on their own.
- Crown Lengthening
During this procedure, your specialist will remove excess gum and bone tissue. This is often used for cosmetic problems.
- Soft Tissue Regeneration
Here, your surgeon will remove tissue from elsewhere in your mouth or use donor tissue and attach it to your gums to replace tissue that has diminished.
Benefits of Gum Surgery
- Improved oral health
- Improved aesthetics to show off your smile
- Elimination of bacteria and regeneration of healthy tissue
- Elimination of an unflattering “gummy” smile where the teeth are too exposed.
What are the risks?
- Short term sore gums may occur and if so, sometimes painkillers may be used to help with pain. We use a number of methods to minimize or eliminate pain after surgery.
- Once in awhile bleeding or bruising may occur after surgery
- A sensation of looser teeth may occur directly after surgery, but this is typically a temporary state
- Teeth sensitivity to hot and cold which again may be temporary or new simple methods to stop the sensitivity can be used.
What can I expect after surgery?
You may experience a bit of pain or sensitivity, which the medication we give you will take care of. This is normal after this type of procedure. Stitches used at the end of surgery sometimes dissolve on their own, and sometimes require removal after about 14 days time. After going home, keeping your mouth as clean as possible without disturbing the treated area is key. It is very important to prevent infection as much as possible. Bleeding and swelling can occasionally occur. Again, it’s important to take great care of your teeth and gums post-surgery, as gently as you can. Taking care of your teeth and gums promotes a long term relationship to your health and happiness.
With over 100 years of combined experience, we have found periodontal and dental implant procedures are a safe and predictable way to help people keep their teeth.