You may need surgery for severe gum disease (periodontitis) if it cannot be cured with antibiotics or root planing and scaling. Types of surgery include:
- Gingivectomy. A gingivectomy removes and reshapes loose, diseased gum tissue to get rid of pockets between the teeth and gums. A gum specialist (periodontist) or oral surgeon often will do the procedure.
- Flap procedure. A flap procedure cleans the roots of a tooth and repairs bone damage caused by gum disease. A periodontist or an oral surgeon often performs this procedure.
- Tooth removal (extraction). If gum disease has loosened or severely damaged a tooth, your dentist may need to remove the tooth. If the procedure is complicated or risky, an oral or maxillofacial surgeon may do the extraction.
Other procedures may be needed to repair badly damaged gums:
- A graft moves healthy gum tissue from one part of the mouth to another.
- Guided tissue regeneration places a special lining between the gums and bone. The lining helps bone grow back and helps the gums reattach to the bone.
- Practice good dental care. For information on how to care for your teeth, see: Dental careCare: Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth.
- See your dentist regularly for checkups. After you have had gum disease, you may need to see your dentist every 3 or 4 months for follow-up.
- Avoid smoking or using spit tobacco. Tobacco decreases your ability to fight infection and delays healing. While quitting is not easy, many people succeed by using a combination of medicine, a stop-smoking program and counseling.
- Have certain heart problems that put you at risk for a heart infection called endocarditis.
- Have an impaired immune system.
- Had recent major surgeries or have man-made body parts, such as an artificial hip or heart valve.
Gum surgery can introduce harmful bacteria into your bloodstream. You may need to take antibiotics before and after surgery if you have a condition that puts you at high risk for a severe infection or if infections are particularly dangerous for you. You may need to take antibiotics if you:
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