Just as there are many types of periodontal diseases, there are many treatment options. Your periodontist looks upon you as an individual and develops a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs. The goal of periodontal therapy is to reestablish good periodontal health.
Surgery is recommended to correct or improve a periodontal problem that affects your oral health. The choice of surgical technique depends on the type and severity of the disease and other conditions in your mouth.
The following are some of the reasons why surgery may be necessary:
To clean and reduce periodontal pockets
As you probably have learned by now, the main cause of periodontal diseases is plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed thoroughly, toxins or poisons produced by bacteria in the plaque irritate the gums and destroy supporting tissues around the teeth, forming pockets. Eventually the plaque hardens into a rough deposit called calculus or tartar. Over time, as more plaque and calculus build up, the gums continue to pull away from the teeth. Gum and bone attachment is lost and pockets deepen.
You cannot predictably keep deep pockets clean and free of plaque just by brushing and flossing. The pockets may have become too deep even for your dentist or hygienist to clean them adequately. Therefore, your periodontist may decide that surgery is necessary to remove plaque and calculus below the gumline. Your periodontist will reduce the pockets and position the gums to eliminate areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide.
To regenerate or “regrow” tissue
If the disease goes untreated, gum and bone attachment to the teeth continues to be destroyed. Plaque moves down the roots of the teeth, resulting in infection which may cause more serious damage to the bone that supports the teeth. Affected teeth can become loose and eventually may be lost.
Your periodontist may recommend surgery to attempt to regenerate or “regrow” gum and bone tissue so you can keep your natural teeth.
To expose more of the tooth structure to make dental repair possible
Many times a tooth is decayed or broken below the gumline. Often periodontal surgery is needed to adjust the gum level and expose more of the tooth so the dentist can repair the damage.
To improve appearance
In certain instances, aesthetics can be improved with periodontal surgery. For example, a “toothy” smile, caused by gum recession, or shrinkage, often can be corrected by gum grafting techniques. Gum grafting also helps prevent further gum recession. Likewise, teeth can be made to look longer for a patient with a “gummy” smile. These are just two examples of how periodontal surgery can improve your appearance.