If you have moderate or severe gum disease, you may be eligible for surgery to help correct the problem. Surgery can improve the look of your mouth so that you don’t have to be self-conscious when you smile but it isn’t done for cosmetic reasons alone.
Surgery can protect your roots from decay to lessen the chances of losing your teeth. It can also stop any sensitivity you experience with hot and cold foods, for example.
Soft Tissue Grafting
This is a procedure where tissue is taken from the roof of your mouth and used to cover over the roots of your teeth. You will be given an injection of local anaesthetic to numb you and then the dentist will take a sample of tissue from your palate and stitch it to your exposed roots.
The whole operation takes around half an hour. You will be sore afterwards and will be given painkillers to help with any post-operative pain. You will also be given a follow-up appointment to ensure that you are healing properly.
There are other variations of the same procedure. Donated and specially-treated human tissue can be used instead of your own. This cancels out the need for a palate graft which makes the operation less painful. This is called an acellular dermal matrix graft.
The dental surgeon can also take gum tissue from the adjacent area instead of from your palate if this is possible.
Gingival Flap Surgery
This technique involves cutting the gum and folding it back so that the bacteria under the gum can be cleared away. Sometimes a gum-regenerating solution is added. When the cleaning is complete, the gums are stitched back into place.
These include an increase in sensitivity, infection, temporary swelling, bruising and bleeding. Failure of the graft can also occur.
You will need to avoid strenuous activities for a week after your graft. You will not be able to drive for awhile after your surgery due to painkillers but can resume driving once off the painkillers.
A bag of frozen peas applied to your face may help ease the swelling, which can occur 48 to 72 hours post-surgery.