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Gum Disease - Surgery

You may need surgery for severe gum disease (periodontitis) if it cannot be cured with antibiotics or root planing and scaling. Types of surgery include:

  • Gingivectomy. A gingivectomy removes and reshapes loose, diseased gum tissue to get rid of pockets between the teeth and gums. A gum specialist (periodontist) or oral surgeon often will do the procedure.
  • Flap procedure. A flap procedure cleans the roots of a tooth and repairs bone damage caused by gum disease. A periodontist or an oral surgeon often performs this procedure.
  • Tooth removal (extraction). If gum disease has loosened or severely damaged a tooth, your dentist may need to remove the tooth. If the procedure is complicated or risky, an oral or maxillofacial surgeon may do the extraction.

Other procedures may be needed to repair badly damaged gums:

  • A graft moves healthy gum tissue from one part of the mouth to another.
  • Guided tissue regeneration places a special lining between the gums and bone. The lining helps bone grow back and helps the gums reattach to the bone.

For surgery to be successful, you will need to:

  • Practice good dental care. For information on how to care for your teeth, see:
    Dental Care: Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth.
  • See your dentist regularly for checkups. After you have had gum disease, you may need to see your dentist every 3 or 4 months for follow-up.
  • Avoid smoking or using spit tobacco. Tobacco decreases your ability to fight infection and delays healing. While quitting is not easy, many people succeed by using a combination of medicine, a stop-smoking program, and counseling. For more information on how to quit, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

What to think about

Gum surgery can introduce harmful bacteria into your bloodstream. You may need to take antibiotics before and after surgery if you have a condition that puts you at high risk for a severe infection or if infections are particularly dangerous for you. You may need to take antibiotics if you:

  • Have certain heart problems that put you at risk for a heart infection called endocarditis.
  • Have an impaired immune system.
  • Had recent major surgeries or have man-made body parts, such as an artificial hip or heart valve.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 05, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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