Periodontal (gum) disease can be a very aggressive infection: Left untreated, it can destroy the vital periodontal structures that protect teeth and maintain their attachment to the jaw. The end result—tooth loss—harms both your health and appearance. Controlling gum disease and ultimately restoring health and appearance to damaged gums and tooth-supporting bone requires aggressive treatment—sometimes even surgical measures. Periodontal (gum) surgery treats moderate to advanced disease.
Different Types of Gum Surgery
If you’ve developed gum disease severe enough to require surgery, your dentist may discuss some of these types of gum surgery as ways to treat the problem: Pocket reduction (also known as gingival flap surgery) In this procedure, your surgeon folds back the gums and removes bacteria. The periodontist (gum specialist) secures the gum tissue against your teeth, rather than allowing it to grow back on its own. Regeneration In this procedure, your periodontist folds back the gums and removes disease-causing bacteria, then inserts bone grafts, membranes, or tissue-stimulating proteins (or any combination of the three) to encourage your gum tissues to regenerate and fit snugly around the teeth again. Crown lengthening In this procedure, your periodontist removes an overgrowth of gum tissue from your teeth, making your teeth appear longer. This procedure is used for cosmetic effects as well as to treat gum disease. Soft tissue graft In this procedure, your periodontist takes sample tissue from elsewhere in your mouth and attaches it to your gums to replace gum tissue that has receded or has been removed due to gum disease. This procedure is often used for cosmetic purposes as well as to treat gum disease because it covers areas where the root is becoming exposed and improves the appearance of the teeth.