The Ultimate Guide to Flap Surgery

The Ultimate Guide to Flap Surgery

Sep 01, 2021

Periodontal disease, alternatively called gum disease, is a severe bacterial infection of the gum tissues. Gum disease occurs when plaque and bacteria attack the gum tissues, resulting in severe inflammation. Characteristics of gum disease include bad breath, bleeding, swollen gums, loose teeth, pain when chewing, and receding gums.

If you have periodontal disease, the dentists at Westwood Dental Group will likely recommend scaling and root planing as first-line treatments. Scaling and root planing, collectively known as deep cleaning, are non-invasive periodontal therapies designed to eliminate inflammation-inducing plaque and bacteria from the gums and teeth and encourage reattachment of gum tissue to the tooth roots.

If deep cleaning isn’t sufficient or successful in eliminating periodontal pockets, our dentists may recommend undergoing a flap surgery procedure. Flap surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is typically successful in reducing and removing periodontal pockets.

What are Periodontal Pockets?

Periodontal pockets are spaces or areas that form under the gum line. Periodontal pockets appear where the gums have detached from the teeth, usually because of gum disease. These pockets can get filled with bacteria, resulting in severe inflammation and infection. Periodontal pockets are a key tell-tale sign of gum disease.

When and Why Is Flap Surgery Needed?

Flap surgery isn’t necessary for all gum disease cases. Some periodontal disease patients can overcome the condition and regain oral well-being through non-invasive therapies such as scaling and root planing.

However, if you have severe gum disease that cannot be resolved through deep cleaning and antibiotics, you’re a likely candidate for flap surgery services. A key objective of a flap surgery procedure is to eliminate or reduce the size of the periodontal pocket. Flap surgery also aims to regenerate the periodontal ligaments and the bone tissue which supports the tooth. In some cases, flap surgery may be combined with other surgical techniques, such as bone grafting, to restore complete oral well-being.

Getting Ready for Flap Surgery

If you’re battling gum disease and scheduled for flap surgery, we recommend liaising with the dentists at Westwood Dental Group to find out if any measures are needed before your surgical procedure. In many cases, patients are advised to quit smoking and avoid taking blood-thinning medication on the days leading up to the surgery.

In addition, if you require deep sedation for your procedure, the dentists will likely encourage you to avoid food and drink for approximately eight hours before your appointment.

What Happens During Flap Surgery?

Flap surgery is usually conducted under local anesthesia. However, sedation may also be utilized depending on the patient’s needs.

After numbing the treatment area, the dentist makes a slight incision in your gum tissue to separate the teeth from the gums. Next, the dentist gently folds back the outer gum tissue to reveal the underlying roots, supporting ligaments and bone tissue.

The dentist then removes the diseased tissue and cleans the tooth roots. Next, topical antibiotics may be applied to eliminate microbes from the treatment area. Finally, the dentist sutures the incision and allows the patient to begin the healing and recovery process.

If you’re struggling with gum disease and require flap surgery services, please contact Westwood Dental Group to schedule a comprehensive consultation with our trusted dentists near you.

Healing and Recovery

After your flap surgery procedure, our dentist may prescribe pain medication to manage pain. Remember to avoid strenuous activity after your procedure, as this can interfere with the healing process. During the first 24 hours following your oral surgery, it’s recommended that you rinse your mouth with warm salt water to minimize pain and swelling.

It takes only several days to recover from flap surgery. During the recovery period, we encourage eating soft foods such as pudding. Prop your head on a pillow when resting and use icepacks to reduce swelling. Avoid smoking, spitting, and using straws until after your gums have healed.

After healing from flap surgery, your gums should start to turn pink and healthy again. To keep them this way, ensure you’re visiting the dentist regularly for dental exams and cleanings as well as practicing proper dental hygiene at home.

Schedule An Appointment

If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause tooth loss and increase your risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. If non-surgical therapies are not working for you, you may be a candidate for flap surgery services. Get in touch with Westwood Dental Group today to find out more.

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