Gum flap surgery is used to treat periodontal gum disease if the infection is beneath the gum line. Periodontal flap surgery reduces the depth of the pockets in which the gum intersects with supporting teeth to prevent bacterial build up and tooth decay.
Gum flap surgery is used to repair damaged teeth or rebuild bone if bone loss has occurred. Periodontists, who are dentists specializing in the area of gum disease, perform the procedure on an out-patient basis.
Periodontal surgeons must make an incision in the gum to lift back the gum tissue and separate the gums from the teeth and jawbone. This allows dentists to reach the underlying jawbone and tooth roots. Gum flap surgery is needed because of damage to the jawbone.
Minor bone defects can be repaired using a procedure called osseous re-contouring where the dentist evens out the edges of the bone. Re-contouring the jawbone will help the gum heal with no complications and can help regenerate bone growth.
If the bone has begun to rot or break away, parts of the jawbone may be removed and repaired with bone grafting during the gingival flap surgery. Once all decay and damaged bone has been removed, the gum flaps are reattached to the bone and tissue using dental sutures.
Anyone who is suffering from periodontal gum disease, which is affecting the tissue and the stability of teeth in the jawbone, may be a good candidate for gum surgery. Dentists will recommend gum flap surgery if deep-root scale and polish cleaning is unable to remove all bacteria because the gum pockets are too deep.
Periodontists make an incision in the gum to reveal the jawbone. Small holes are then made into the area of the jaw where the bone graft will be placed. The grafted bone is located into these holes, or if a large amount of bone grafting is needed, the grafted bone will be secured into the existing bone with titanium screws.
Bone marrow may be placed on top of the bone graft to stimulate healing before the incision is sealed. Periodontists place tissue membrane over the dental bone graft and seal the incision with dental sutures.
The length of the bone graft procedure depends on the amount of bone grafting needed. For some patients the procedure will be complete in 2 hours, for other patients it may take up to 5 hours to remove the bone from one area of the body and place the graft into the jaw.
Periodontal gum surgery may take between 1-4 hours to complete depending on the amount of damage revealed when the gum flap is lifted.