If you are suffering from gum disease and you’ve tried everything to stabilize or reverse the situation and it doesn’t seem to be helping, you may be a candidate for regenerative gum surgery. Until very recently, there was nothing that dentists could do to restore lost gum tissue or bone. Now, with the help of advancing science, they can.
What is Regenerative Gum Surgery?
Instead of just grafting other tissue and patching it over the missing gum, the dentist can now grow new gum! He can do this by folding the gum back and removing the bacteria from underneath (which is what is causing the recession). He then adds a special tissue stimulating protein that kick starts your body into healing itself and growing new gum tissue.
If you have periodontal disease (where the jaw bone is crumbling), he can add bone graft to the area and this may generate new bone. The procedure is done under a local anaesthetic.
How will I feel Afterwards?
You should rest for 24 hours after the procedure.
Your mouth will be numb for several hours after surgery so you shouldn’t have any hot drinks or food you have to chew during this time, in case you accidently damage your mouth. You should avoid chewing foods in the area you have been operated on for a few days after your surgery. Having soft and liquid foods may be better during this time.
After the anaesthetic has worn off, your mouth will feel sore and your gums may be swollen. You will be given medication to relieve the discomfort and possibly antibiotics to prevent infection. Most patients only experience mild discomfort.
After 5 to 10 days you will return to the dentist for a follow-up appointment so he can see how your mouth is healing.
How Do I Pay for My Surgery?
Dental loans are available to pay for your surgery. You should be able to discuss your finances with your dentist and they will help you find a plan that is affordable for you. You could also approach your medical insurance provider, although it is pot luck as to whether they will fund it because some insurance companies consider gum surgery to be cosmetic even when it is done for medical reasons.
Hyaluronic acid - the Regenerative Gel!
If you can’t afford surgery or aren’t keen on the idea, you could try rubbing some regenerative gel into your gums. Scientists from the University of Rostock in Germany found that hyaluronic acid, a substance found in your connective tissues, can increase your blood supply, reduce inflammation and boost tissue regeneration.
Doctors are already aware of its regenerative abilities and have been applying it to skin grafts for years and to the joints of people with arthritis. A study in Italy reached the same positive conclusions.
Some patients have found that when they apply the gel a few times a day, their gum disease reverses. It is also available as a mouthwash and in supplemental tablets.
Regeneration, American Academy of Periodontology. Web. 30 November 2011. http://www.perio.org/consumer/regeneration.htm
Periodontal Surgery: What Can I Expect? Why do I need periodontal surgery? Web. 30 November 2011.
Get your smile back, Daily Mail. Web. 30 November 2011. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-67661/Get-smile-back.html
USE OF HYALURONIC ACID IN PERIODONTAL DISEASE, Aldo Moro University of Bari, University of Rome, University G.D Annunzio, Second University of Naples, February 11 2009.
Reviewed November 30, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith