4 Answers To Top Gum Surgery Questions

Gum surgery is a common procedure that can reduce tartar below the gum-line, help damaged bone to regenerate and provide a way for you to get your healthy smile back. More than eight percent of adults ages 20 to 64 have periodontal disease, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. If your dentist or periodontist has told you that surgery is a must, knowing the facts (and the fictions) surrounding gum disease can help you to feel more comfortable with the procedure and better understand how and why this medical issue impacts your mouth.

1. Does regular brushing mean you can't gum disease? While regular brushing and flossing are essential for a healthy mouth, this doesn't always mean you won't develop periodontal disease. Brushing removes some of the bacteria in your mouth. This reduces the amount of plaque and also decreases the likelihood that you'll develop the type of disease that requires surgery. That said, if the plaque hardens and forms tartar, only a pro can fully clean it off. If your periodontist tells you that you may need surgery, don't jump to the assumption that they're wrong because you brush.

2. What can cause gum disease, other than lack of brushing? There are a few different potential culprits that may have little to do with how you care for your mouth. Although poor dental hygiene can only compound these factors, smoking, chewing tobacco, diabetes, pregnancy, some medications (such as steroids or calcium channel blockers) and genetics may play roles in gum disease. Having crooked teeth that are tough to keep clean can also contribute to periodontal problems, notes the American Dental Association.

3. How can gum surgery protect the mouth? A gum graft can cover the expose roots of your teeth. This type of surgery involves removing tissue from another place in your mouth (such as the palate) and grafting it along the gum line. Doing so can protect your teeth from decay, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. The procedure can also help to stop further bone loss or gum recession.

4. Does the surgery hurt? While it isn't a day at the park, your periodontist will take measures to help you feel more comfortable during and after the procedure. Your periodontist will numb the area prior to starting the surgery. Some periodontists also offer light sedation. This allows you to sleep or relax during the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers typically work well for any post-surgery discomfort.

Deciding to have gum surgery can change your smile, make your mouth healthier and improve your overall self-image. It can also reduce the risk of future problems. Knowing the why's, what's and how's of periodontal disease and its treatments can help you to better prepare for your procedure and make the most of your recovery.