Surgery on the gums may be used for both restorative and cosmetic dental concerns. In most cases, it's done to help patients who have periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease. This occurs when plaque and bacteria get trapped in the pockets under the gumline. The buildup can begin to create toxins that can affect your gums and the rest of your mouth, including your teeth, jawbone, and ligaments. Depending on the extent of your condition, there are two common types of gum surgery performed at Ingber Dental for treating periodontal disease — gingival flap surgery and gingivectomy. Another gum surgery we perform, gingivoplasty, is a cosmetic dental procedure that improves and reshapes your gums after gum disease has been treated. Washington, D.C.'s Dr. Kenneth Ingber and his skilled dental team perform all three gum surgeries to correct gum disease in advanced stages and improve the appearance of your smile.
The best candidate for surgery on the gums would be anyone diagnosed with advanced periodontitis (the late stage of gum disease) that can no longer be effectively treated without surgery. Generally, this means that the disease has begun to affect the roots of your teeth and may even be infecting your jawbone and muscles. You may be experiencing severely swollen and painful gums, loose teeth, or pus on your teeth and gums. Your gums might be overgrown (causing a "gummy" smile) or shrinking so too much enamel is showing.
What to Expect
Prior to receiving treatment, we will examine your teeth and gums to determine which gum surgery is the best match for your condition. Depending on the gum surgery selected, we will go over your sedation choices to help you stay calm and comfortable during the surgery. Gingival flap surgery starts by making surgical cuts in the gums so it can be pulled away from the teeth. When the gum pockets and enamel are visible, a thorough cleaning is performed before the gums are stitched closed. A gingivectomy cuts away excess gum tissue and then deep cleans the gum pockets and teeth. A gingivoplasty procedure will reshape and adjust your recessive gum tissue. In some cases, gum graft surgery may be performed as part of a gingivoplasty to make your gumline even. Other options for gum surgery may include:
There are various sorts of gum grafts that will be selected based on your specific condition. Connective tissue grafts are the most common type used to correct root exposure. This involves making an incision in the roof of your mouth to create a small flap of skin. The connective tissue is removed from in the flap and attached to your gums. A free gingival graft is similar except that more tissue is used from the roof of the mouth to increase particularly thin gums. The third procedure is a pedicle graft that takes excess gum tissue from one area to where you need coverage. At your consultation, you will be guided to the best graft to suit your needs.
Gum contouring is done in our office with local anesthesia. Options for sedation may be used if you have anxiety or fears about visiting the dentist. Before the procedure, your teeth and gums will be cleaned and dried. A laser will then be used to cut away excess gum tissue to sculpt a balanced gumline. The laser seals the gums for minimal bleeding during the treatment. As soon as your gumline is contoured, your gums will be cleaned so you can see your results. Generally, gum contouring can be complete in a single visit.
Pinhole® Surgical Technique
At Ingber Dental, one of our experienced dentists, Dr. Aynur Ismayil, is certified to perform the Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST), a minimally invasive procedure that treats gum recession by restoring your gum tissue and smile back to a healthy state. PST is a great alternative to traditional gum grafting, and multiple affected teeth can be treated in a single appointment. The procedure is performed with specialized and patented instruments and eliminates the need for scalpels, incisions, or sutures. During the procedure, Dr. Ismayil creates a small hole in the gumline above the affected area and with careful precision, she gently loosens the gum tissue and repositions it to effectively cover the exposed tooth root. Under her experienced care, you will receive immediate aesthetic and functional results with a fast recovery and healing time.
Following your gum surgery, you may experience some pain or swelling in the treated areas. We will discuss ways to manage your pain and help your gums heal at home. We may prescribe antibiotics or pain medication to take during your recovery period. As soon as your gums heal, it is important that you follow a proper oral hygiene routine to prevent future infections with daily brushing and flossing. Twice-yearly cleanings at Ingber Dental will help clean plaque and tartar that build up on your teeth and prevent gum disease from reoccurring. At your annual dental examination, your oral health will be analyzed to make sure your gums are healthy and the condition has been addressed.
Gum surgery is usually seen as a medical necessity, which means a part of the cost will most likely be covered by dental insurance. Prior to your surgery, a member of our team will call your provider to calculate any out-of-pocket costs. To help make your surgery more affordable, Ingber Dental accepts many payment methods, including low-interest medical financing. During your consultation, a member of our financial team can discuss costs and other financial information.
Periodontal (gum) disease is not only painful, but it can also create other problems, like tooth loss, diabetes, and heart disease. Gum surgery at Ingber Dental is usually a good treatment to correct severe gum disease and restore your smile. For more information, contact our office in Washington, D.C. to schedule your appointment.