Reviewed by Dr. Kerri Font, DDS

Healthy gums are the foundation of a bright smile and a strong bite. But gum disease, a chronic bacterial infection, can cause chaos in your oral health. Gingival flap surgery, often referred to as gum flap surgery or periodontal flap surgery, is a dental procedure primarily used to treat advanced gum disease.What exactly is gingival flap surgery, and why might it be the right choice for you? This blog explains the importance of this procedure for maintaining periodontal health.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Gingival flap surgery is a dental procedure that allows direct access to the teeth’ roots and bone for deep cleaning and repair. It is necessary for patients with severe gum disease, where non-surgical methods are insufficient to remove deep-seated bacteria and diseased tissue.

What Is Gingival Flap Surgery?

Gingival flap surgery is a type of periodontal surgery that allows direct access to the tooth roots and bone beneath the gum tissue. The procedure involves carefully folding back the gum tissue to remove diseased tissue and repair the damage to the bone caused by advanced gum disease. Here’s a brief overview of how it works:

  1. Local anesthetic: Your dentist will first administer a local anesthetic to numb the area around the affected teeth.
  2. Gum flap creation: A precise incision is made in the gum tissue, creating a flap that allows for visualization and access to the underlying tooth roots and bone.
  3. Deep cleaning and debridement: With the flap lifted, your dentist will thoroughly clean the tooth roots, removing plaque, tartar (calculus), and inflamed tissue. This deep cleaning, beyond what’s possible with non-surgical treatment (scaling and root planing), is crucial for removing infection.
  4. Bone grafting (optional): In cases of bone loss caused by advanced gum disease, bone grafting materials can be placed to regenerate and support the bone tissue around the teeth.
  5. Flap repositioning and stitches: Once the cleaning and any necessary bone grafting are complete, the gum flap is carefully repositioned and secured with sutures.

When is Gingival Flap Surgery Necessary?

Gingival flap surgery is typically recommended for patients with advanced gum disease characterized by:

  • Deep periodontal pockets. These are spaces between the gum tissue and tooth that become too deep for non-surgical cleaning methods to reach effectively.
  • Severe gum recession. This exposes more of the tooth root, leading to sensitivity and increased risk of tooth loss.
  • Loose teeth. Advanced gum disease can weaken the supporting bone structure, leading to loose teeth.
  • Persistent bad breath. Untreated gum disease is a major contributor to chronic bad breath (halitosis).

Benefits of Gingival Flap Surgery

Gingival flap surgery offers a range of benefits for patients with advanced gum disease:

  • Improved oral health: By removing bacteria and diseased tissue, the surgery controls infection and promotes healing, leading to improved overall oral health.
  • Reduced risk of tooth loss: By addressing bone loss and stabilizing loose teeth, the surgery helps prevent tooth loss.
  • Enhanced aesthetics: Reduced gum recession and improved gum health can lead to a more aesthetically pleasing smile.
  • Fresher breath: Eliminating the source of bad breath bacteria can significantly improve breath quality.

The Healing Process After Gingival Flap Surgery

Following gingival flap surgery, some tenderness, swelling, and minor discomfort are to be expected. Your dentist will provide detailed post-operative instructions, which may include:

  • Pain medication: To manage any discomfort.
  • Soft food diet: To allow the surgical site to heal properly.
  • Oral hygiene: Gentle brushing and rinsing with a prescribed antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Ice packs: To reduce swelling.

Healthy Gums With Highlands Ranch Periodontics

At Highlands Ranch Periodontics, we prioritize the health and well-being of your gums. We offer a range of periodontal treatments and procedures, including gingival flap surgery, to help our patients achieve optimal oral health.

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease or have been diagnosed with advanced periodontitis, schedule an appointment with us. 

If you are searching for help with “gum disease in Highlands Ranch”, we can help. Call (303) 683-1144 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form. 

Gingival Flap Surgery FAQs

Will gingival flap surgery hurt?

Local anesthesia is used during the surgery to minimize discomfort. You may experience some tenderness and swelling afterward, but pain medication can help manage these symptoms.

How long does the surgery take?

The duration of the surgery depends on the number of teeth being treated and the complexity of the case. It typically takes one to two hours per quadrant of the mouth.

What is the recovery time after gingival flap surgery?

Most patients experience significant improvement within a week, with complete healing taking several weeks.

Categories: Periodontics