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Periodontics & Implantology Blog

Latest news and info on what's happening at San Antonio Periodontics and Implants.

When Periodontal Surgery is the Right Call


Nobody really wants to hear that they need dental surgery. And when the surgery is associated with correcting things with scary-sounding names, like gingivitis and periodontitis, it can be even worse. 

At San Antonio Periodontics and Implants, we understand that the prospect of surgery can be scary. Our professional staff, Dr. Steven Maller and Dr. William Stalker, are experienced and caring. You’ll find that we can make your experience with dental surgery a less scary idea.

What is gingivitis and periodontitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease caused by plaque and tartar buildup. This can be the result of poor oral hygiene and other factors. Gum redness, swelling and bleeding are indications of gingivitis.

A more serious form of gum disease, periodontitis, can lead to bone and tissue destruction. Gums may begin to separate from teeth, causing spaces that can trap bacteria and lead to infection.

Do I have to have surgery?

If your specialist has diagnosed you with gingivitis, periodontitis or any gum issue, it is recommended that you take the steps necessary to correct the problem. If left untreated, these gum diseases may lead to the development of serious health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and pre-term, low-weight babies.

Additionally, without treatment, these conditions will worsen, ultimately leading to even more extensive – and expensive – surgery.

What happens before dental surgery?

Before dental surgery to correct gingivitis and periodontitis, your dental specialist may give your gums a deep clean in the form of deep scaling or root planing. Deep scaling helps to remove tartar and bacteria from teeth and gums, while planing smooths the surfaces of the roots of the teeth in order to give bacteria and tartar less places to hide.

At San Antonio Periodontics and Implants, our team will go over these options carefully and thoroughly to ensure your understanding and comfort.

Preparing for gum surgery

In order for your dental surgery to proceed smoothly and without complications, we’ll do a pre-operative exam to ensure that your mouth is in the proper condition. During this exam, we’ll be reviewing your medical history, examining your teeth, mouth and jaw for stability, checking for any infections, abscesses or other lesions and discuss the risks and benefits of the surgery with you.

The day for surgery is here

You’ll want to be sure you have someone who can drive you home after the surgery. Dental gum surgeries generally take about two hours and may require you to be asleep or partially asleep. Some types of surgery for gum disease include:

• Flap surgery: Flap surgery is designed to remove tartar buildup in deep pockets. Your surgeon will lift the gums off the teeth to remove tartar buildup and use stitches to ensure the gums fit back around the teeth.

• Bone grafting:  Your surgeon will remove damaged bone from around the root of the teeth, replacing it with new bone. 

• Guided tissue regeneration: Your dental surgeon will place a small piece of mesh-like material between your bone and gum tissue, allowing the bone and connective tissue to regrow.

• Tissue grafting: Typically during this procedure, your surgeon will remove tissue from one part of your body and reattach it to areas where you have gum line recession in order to reduce the risk of further damage and to cover exposed roots.

Recovering from dental surgery

At San Antonio Periodontics and Implants, we want to make sure you are comfortable after your surgery. We’ll go over your post-operative instructions with you and answer any questions you may have.  We will schedule you for a follow-up in 1-2 weeks time to make sure you are healing properly and, if needed, remove stitches.

Typically, you will receive a prescription for pain medication to help your recovery be as comfortable and pain free as possible. We will make sure you understand what we are providing in form of prescriptions and how you should take it for the best possible outcome. Some other suggestions we will give you include:

• Using an antiseptic mouthwash, if appropriate, to help the area stay clean

• Avoiding strenuous exercise

• Eating soft foods

• Not smoking

After dental surgery, you can expect your gums to look and feel better, including tightening and feeling firmer and stronger.

How you can prevent gum disease

Flossing and brushing at least two times a day can prevent the bacterial overgrowth, plaque and tartar build up associated with gum disease. Even though it was recently announced that flossing is no longer necessary, don’t be fooled! Proper oral hygiene is the best way you can avoid complicating gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. 

Contact us to find out more about good oral hygiene and schedule an appointment to receive your personalized oral hygiene program.

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