Gum Flap Surgery. How Long Does It Take to Heal?

Gum Flap Surgery. How Long Does It Take to Heal?

Dec 01, 2022

Advanced gum disease puts your teeth, jawbone, mouth, and entire physical health in danger. If not treated promptly, gum disease can lead to gum recession, tooth loss, and jawbone damage. In worse cases, periodontal bacteria can spread through the bloodstream to vital body parts like the heart and brain, increasing your risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and immune system dysfunction.

It’s essential to seek treatment for gum disease as soon as you notice any symptoms. If the condition is in the early stages, you can benefit from non-surgical treatments like routine dental assessments and cleanings, medications, root planing and scaling (deep cleaning).

However, if your condition has progressed extensively and non-surgical treatments aren’t effective, the dentist or periodontist can recommend periodontal surgery. Keep reading to learn more about gum flap surgery and what to expect during and after your treatment.

What is Gum Flap Surgery?

Advanced gum disease destroys the tissues, encouraging bacterial plaque and tartar buildup below the gum line, creating deeper gum pockets.

If not treated promptly, the disease infects the supporting structures of the teeth, like the jawbone and connective tissues, resulting in tooth mobility and loss and bone loss. The disease also causes severe symptoms like swollen or sensitive gums, tooth pain or sensitivity, gum bleeding, and facial swelling.

Gum flap surgery is a periodontal procedure for reducing and treating periodontal pockets. It stops the progression of the disease and allows your gums to recover faster and better.

Gum Flap Surgery: What to Expect

Flap surgery is only necessary when you have gum disease. It’s mainly used when your condition has advanced to a severe stage known as periodontitis. However, flap surgery can also be used for cosmetic purposes to improve a gummy smile.

Common reasons for flap surgery include:

  • Excessive gum tissues or short teeth
  • Inflamed gums that bleed easily and excessively
  • Tooth mobility or change in how teeth fit together
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Severe gum recession
  • Persistent halitosis or bad breath
  • Severe tooth pain or sensitivity

Once you visit our dentist, they will inspect your gum and mouth for signs of gum disease. They might take X-rays and measurements of your pockets to determine whether flap surgery is right for you.

Typically, the gum flap surgery procedure involves the following steps:

  • Anesthesia administration. The dentist or periodontist will begin by numbing you to reduce anxiety and prevent pain.
  • Tissue incision and removal. The dentist makes small flap-like incisions on the gums to allow the removal of the diseased tissues from the pockets. It also provides access to the teeth’s root and bone tissues. It will enable the dentist to perform root planing and scaling to eliminate bacterial plaque and tartar. The gum tissues attach to the teeth firmly.
  • Close the flap. After removing the infection, the dentist will close the flap and stitch the incisions for faster healing. Some dentists use fibrin glue in place of sutures.

How long does swelling last after flap surgery?

After flap surgery, you may experience some soreness, pain, and swelling once the anesthesia wears off. Fortunately, your dentist will prescribe painkillers, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication to manage these symptoms for faster healing and to prevent infections.

Generally, swelling and other symptoms will subside within a week or so. Along with the medication, follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions strictly. Other tips to promote faster healing and recovery after a flap surgery:

  • Rest adequately. Strenuous activities can cause pressure on the surgical site, aggravating your pain, swelling, and bleeding.
  • Keep the gauze in place until the bleeding stops.
  • Keep your head elevated with a soft pillow.
  • Use a cold or hot compress on the face next to the surgical area
  • Take a soft food diet. Avoid hot, spicy, hard, crunchy, acidic, and chewy foods.
  • Avoid tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.
  • Use saltwater rinses after 24 hours.
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene.
  • Avoid spitting or sucking.
  • Notify your dentist if symptoms worsen or persist more than normal.

How long does it take to heal?

Typically, it takes about 2 – 3 weeks for your gums to heal after flap surgery. Once you’ve healed, your gums should be healthy, pink, and non-painful. Keep up with thorough brushing and flossing, and schedule routine dental exams and cleanings every six months to prevent the recurrence of gum disease and keep your smile healthy.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you interested in gum flap surgery in Westwood, MA? Contact Westwood Dental Group for more information.

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