Types of Periodontal Surgery

Woman in dental chair looking at x-ray before periodontal surgery

While periodontal surgery can sound a little scary, many services offered by a periodontal surgeon, or periodontist, are a lot less invasive than you might think. Many procedures don’t even involve incisions or stitches. If you’ve been having issues with gingivitis, receding gums, or missing teeth, there are a number of treatments available to help you build back your gum tissue and bone density to greatly improve your oral health. Some procedures may even help you save loose or sensitive teeth.

Dental Implants

Patients who are looking for a permanent and long-lasting solution to a missing tooth or teeth can benefit from dental implants. During periodontal surgery to embed dental implants, the periodontal surgeon inserts a metal artificial tooth root into your jawbone and attaches an artificial tooth that matches the color of your natural teeth.

What to expect

You will start with a consultation to determine if your underlying bone structure can support a dental implant. If not, you will need to start with a bone graft. Each implant procedure is different from the next, so what happens after the consultation and how many separate procedures you will need depends on your situation.

Benefits

  • Replaces a single tooth or supports a bridge or full denture arch
  • Fuses to living bone
  • Helps prevent bone loss
  • Improves chewing and speech
  • Permanent and durable
  • Lasts 15 years to a lifetime
  • Improved smile
  • Boosts confidence and self-esteem

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is needed by a patient who has experienced bone loss, typically from missing teeth. With this procedure, the periodontist will make an incision in the gum, through which grafting material is inserted to encourage new bone cell growth around the material. The grafting material may come from the patient, which requires two incisions, or from human, animal, or synthetic bone. Once the new cells have grown around it, the grafting material is absorbed and replaced by new bone cells.

What to expect

Bone grafting is an in-office procedure, usually only requiring local anesthesia. Though the gum may heal in a matter of days, it can take up to seven months for the bone to fully regrow.

Benefits

The primary reason patients need bone grafting is to prepare the underlying structure for a dental implant. In addition to this, there are a number of other benefits:

  • Maintains the integrity of the jawbone
  • Helps prevent teeth from shifting
  • Preserves ridge topography under bridges
  • Improves functionality and appearance of other dental work
  • Prevents pain and muscular dysfunction due to bone loss
  • Prevents deformity due to bone loss
  • Other dental problems and disease prevention

Gum Grafting

A patient with very thin gum tissue, or one who has gum recession on one or more teeth, that includes exposure of part of the root, would be a good candidate for gingival grafting, or gum grafting. In this procedure, the periodontal surgeon removes a small layer of tissue from the roof of the patient’s mouth and then sutures it in place over the exposed root, where it naturally will attach as living tissue.

What to expect

This is an in-office procedure, usually performed with local anesthesia, although you may receive a mild sedative. The tissue in the mouth heals fairly fast, but you may want to eat soft foods for a few days to avoid irritating the donor site. Your mouth should be fully healed in a week or two.

Benefits

  • Protects the exposed root
  • Stops further gum recession
  • Prevents bone loss
  • Eliminates tooth sensitivity in the treated tooth
  • Enhances your smile

LANAP – Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure

Patients with infected or diseased gum pockets that measure four millimeters or deeper would benefit from LANAP. During the LANAP procedure, the periodontist uses a laser to removed infected or diseased tissue from the inside of a deep pocket. This encourages regeneration of healthy connective tissue, reconnecting the gums to the tooth.

What to Expect

LANAP is less invasive than other types of periodontal surgery. However, you may still want to eat soft foods and allow the tissues to heal with minimal additional irritation. Though you can return to your normal routine the following day, it can take up to several months for the gum tissue to regrow.

Benefits

  • Saves loose teeth
  • Minimally invasive
  • No incision
  • No significant downtime
  • Healthy tissue is unaffected
  • Gum regeneration
  • Prevents further gum loss
  • Improved oral health
  • Long-lasting results

Gingivectomy

A patient with elongated, very thick, or large gums that cover a significant portion of the tooth surface would benefit from gingivectomy, especially when there is associated gum disease. With this procedure, the periodontal surgeon removes the excess gum tissue with a laser.

What to Expect

After anesthesia and preparation of the area, the periodontal surgeon uses a laser to remove excess gum tissue. Healing is fast, with the area significantly recovering in a day or two. You may have a follow-up appointment to check it one week later.

Benefits

  • No stitches
  • Fast recovery
  • Gum reduction
  • Treats gum disease
  • Improved oral health
  • Improved appearance of your smile

Pinhole Surgical Technique

The pinhole surgical technique would benefit patients who have some degree of gum recession but still have healthy gum tissue. With this technique, the periodontist uses a special instrument to create a small hole in the gum tissue below the area where the gum is receding. Through this hole, additional instruments detach the gum tissue and pull it up over the exposed area, so that it re-attaches in a different position that better covers the base of the tooth.

What to Expect

The technique is usually done with local anesthesia, and there is significant recovery in a day or two.

Benefits

  • No donor tissue needed
  • No stitches
  • Fast recovery time
  • Quick results
  • Rebuilds gum line
  • Long-lasting results
  • Improved appearance of your smile

Periodontist Richard Newhart D.D.S.

If you are looking for a solution for receding gums, tooth sensitivity, a “gummy smile,” or bone loss, periodontist Richard Newhart is here to help. Dr. Newhart offers all of the above dental services to patients in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and neighboring Ohio cities, as well as other treatments as a gum specialist. Dr. Newhart has been helping patients in the Mid-Ohio Valley since 1989. If you would like to find out what periodontal surgery procedure is right for your dental issues, contact the office of Dr. Richard Newhart to schedule an appointment. Call or schedule online with “the Gum Dr.,” Richard Newhart D.D.S., today.

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