Gum Surgery: What You Need to Know

Periodontal disease is a serious oral health issue, and when left unchecked, it can destroy the bone that supports your teeth. What is most concerning about periodontal disease is how widespread it is, and the increase in gum surgeries it has caused over the last several decades. 

According to a report by the CDC, one out of two adults in the United States has periodontal disease. What’s even more alarming is that an estimated 47.2% of American adults have mild periodontal disease, and adults over 65 have a staggering 70% prevalence. 

Just the thought of oral surgery is enough to provoke anxiety, but it’s important to discuss this growing oral health concern. 

How Is Periodontal Disease Diagnosed? 

Typically, your dentist will do a routine dental checkup to identify any signs of inflammation along the gum line. Then, your dentist will use a micro ruler and probe your gums for signs of pockets between the gums and the teeth. These pockets can become a host to a wide variety of bacteria, tartar, and plaque.

Your dentist will likely ask you about your medical history; if you smoke, drink alcohol, or have diabetes—all of these are conditions and risk factors that can contribute to gum disease.

What Are the Different Types of Gum Surgery?

If your gum disease has progressed enough, your doctor might recommend surgery. Here are the four most common gum procedures performed: 

  • Gingival flap surgery, otherwise known as “pocket reduction.” During this gum surgery, oral surgeons fold back the gums and remove bacteria. 
  • Regeneration surgery is a gum surgery where oral surgeons insert bone grafts, membranes, and tissue-stimulating proteins to encourage gum growth.
  • Crown lengthening is a surgery that requires the removal of overgrown gum tissue.
  • The soft tissue graft is another type of gum surgery that involves a periodontist to take a tissue sample from a patient’s mouth and attach it to the gums to replace infected, diseased gum tissue. 

How Painful Is Gum Surgery?

Most people experience mild to moderate pain after gum surgery, which you can manage with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen. Due to innovations and advancements in the dental field, the pain you will feel during most gum surgeries is likely to be minimal. 

Laser surgery, for example, causes no bleeding and requires no stitching. On average, completion times for laser gum surgery are much faster and can be done while the patient is awake. 

What Is the Average Cost of Surgery?

It’s hard to pinpoint an average cost for gum surgery, as the cost varies based on your practitioner, the specific procedure, and the severity of the infection. Procedure prices depend on gum disease progression and the recommended treatment, ranging from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. Despite the varying rates, most health insurance companies will cover a portion of your periodontal surgery costs.

Are your gums needing some major TLC? Schedule an appointment today!