Health Information

Surgical Procedures for Periodontal Disease

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If your periodontal disease is severe, you might be advised to undergo a surgical procedure to thoroughly clean out bacteria that are too deep to be removed through scaling and root planing. You might also require surgery to restore tissue and bone that has been destroyed by periodontal disease.

Open Flap Surgery or Pocket Depth Reduction

This procedure involves cutting into the gum and revealing the bone and teeth underneath so the area can be carefully and completely cleaned. The disease-causing bacteria and any pieces of calculus are removed, and then the gum tissue is sewn securely back into place around the teeth.

Regenerative Procedures or Bone and Tissue Grafts

If you have severe tissue and bone destruction from periodontal disease, you might need another procedure after flap surgery called a graft. During a graft, your dentist or dental specialist may remove a bit of tissue or bone from another area of your body, and attach it to areas in your mouth that need new tissue or bone growth. Alternatively, there are two other sources of graft tissue, a material harvested from donors called an allograft and a biosynthetic graft material. In addition to grafting procedures, a tiny bit of mesh material may be placed between your gum and bone. This technique prevents the new gum tissue from growing into the area where bone should be.

Revision Information

  • Gum disease: what you need to know. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: http://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease.htm . Updated May 2011. Accessed July 27, 2011.

  • Periodontal (gum) disease. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/GumDisease/ . Updated March 2011. Accessed July 27, 2011.

  • Periodontal (gum) diseases. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/ . Updated March 2005. Accessed April 23, 2009.

  • What is gum disease? American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/forthedentalpatient%5Fjan%5F2011.pdf . Published 2011. Accessed July 27, 2011.