Gingival flap surgery is a dental intervention used to treat periodontitis. Periodontitis is a gum condition which is caused by a build-up of periodontal bacteria and is typified by inflammation, increased sensitivity, bleeding, and pain. What’s more, if the condition is left to spread unchecked it can potentially lead to tooth loss via the destruction of both the periodontal ligament and the supporting bone structures. While it should be noted that a gingival flap surgery is not a cure for periodontitis, it does greatly facilitate the preservation of periodontal health. You can check out www.cpdental.com.au for more info about gum disease treatment.
Before any surgical intervention is undertaken the overall health of the patient will be evaluated in order to ascertain their suitability for surgery. Similarly, in order to guard against potential complications, any medication that the patient is taking will be assessed.
Generally, flap surgery is conducted using a local anesthetic to numb the target area, however, in some cases, intravenous conscious sedation may be employed as an alternative. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the next step involves separating the patient’s gums from their teeth. To do so, a scalpel is used to make the delicate incisions necessary to create a flap of gum, which is disconnected from the underlying teeth. This flap is then folded back so that the roots, periodontal ligament, and surrounding bone are accessible to the surgeon.
Next, the inflamed tissue is removed from between the teeth and from any dimple-like pockets in the bone. Once all the inflamed tissue is removed the surgeon will proceed to clean plaque and tartar from the teeth, through the use of a combination of scaling and root planing techniques. If any bone defects are identified, they may be eliminated, using a process known as osseous recontouring, or repaired using bone grafts or artificial materials. Additionally, to help encourage the periodontal ligament to fully regenerate, a physical device called a barrier membrane may be fitted. On the other hand, the surgeon may opt for chemical methods as an alternative to the barrier membrane option.
The surgical process is completed by stitching the gums back into place. Whereas some stitches dissolve of their own accord, others will need to be removed 7-10 days after the operation. If required, a periodontal dressing may be used in order to protect the surgical site from infection.
To aid the recovery process it is important to maintain high standards of oral hygiene in the aftermath of surgery. In addition to brushing and flossing, the use of an antimicrobial mouthwash can also be beneficial. Tobacco should also be avoided as its use diminishes the body’s ability to counteract infection and as a result can prolong the healing process.
Pain medication may be necessitated in instances where a patient’s pain becomes persistent after surgery, while antibiotics may occasionally be prescribed in order to guard against infection.
Although gingival flap surgery offers well-documented benefits, like any surgery it nevertheless still involves a degree of risk. In the short term, for example, the surgical wound may be susceptible to infection or harmful bacteria may be introduced into the bloodstream. Over the longer term, meanwhile, it has been shown that gums are more prone to receding, that teeth develop more acute sensitivities, and that roots are more susceptible to cavities.