Home | Procedures | Flap surgery
By Dr Swati Yadav
Consultant Dental Surgeon
Published on 28 October 2022

Article Context

  1. Overview
  2. Procedure
  3. Benefits and risks
  4. Care at Medicover
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

Your teeth are at risk when advanced gum disease such as periodontitis develops. The ligaments and bone tissue surrounding the tooth are destroyed at this stage, and you may even begin to lose teeth. When non-surgical techniques such as scaling and root planing are insufficient to treat gum disease, the health of your smile can be restored by flap surgery. The dentist performs a flap procedure to stop the progression of gum disease.

Flap surgery is the most commonly used approach to treat and repair periodontal pockets. Periodontal pockets are areas beneath the gum line where gum tissue has detached from the teeth, creating an unclean space where harmful bacteria can multiply. These bacteria can cause tissue inflammation, resulting in bleeding, sensitivity, and pain. They can cause gum disease, loss of the tooth-supporting bone structure, and possibly even systemic problems if left untreated.

Flap surgery involves separating a section of your gum tissue from the underlying tissue to provide a clear view and direct access to the bone and root surface.

What are the goals of flap surgery

  • Elimination or reduction of the pocket.
  • Regeneration of bone tissue lost due to disease.

Various techniques of regenerative methods, such as bone grafting, PRF (platelet rich fibrin), and GTR (guided tissue regeneration,barrier membrane) may be used. These methods help in the restoration of the gums to their normal form and function, as well as the promotion of dental health and secure anchoring of teeth.

Procedure

  • Flap surgery is done under local anesthesia.
  • Following anesthesia, a flap-like incision is made in the gum tissue to separate the gums from the teeth.
  • The separated gum tissue is gently retracted to access tooth roots, supporting structures, and bone tissue. This allows removing diseased tissue from within the pocket and thoroughly cleaning of root surfaces to eliminate harmful plaque and tartar. The area may also be treated with antibiotics or other medications if necessary.
  • Bone defects can be repaired with grafting material, and physical (barrier membranes) and PRF methods can promote proper regeneration.
  • The incision is finally sutured, and the procedure is completed.
  • The time taken to complete the procedure is determined by the extent of the damage and the number of gum areas affected.
  • During surgery, anesthesia will keep you pain-free. Medication can be used to relieve pain and discomfort following the procedure.

Recovery from a flap procedure usually takes only a few days. Make sure you strictly adhere to the home care instructions.

Home care instructions:

The following are general recommendations to aid in recovery:

  • Take painkillers as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Gently rinse after 24 hours with warm salt water several times per day to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Replace gauze pads as soon as they become soaked in blood.
  • Strenuous physical activity may increase bleeding. So relax after the surgery.
  • Start with soft foods and gradually add solid foods to your diet as the area heals.
  • Continue to brush your teeth and tongue with care.
  • Apply an ice pack to the outside of your mouth to help relieve pain and swelling.
  • Do not smoke
  • Do not use a straw for drinking.
  • Do not brush or floss in the operated graft site after the surgery for ten days. You can start with gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush and gradually progress to normal brushing.

Your dentist will remove the stitches a few days after the procedure. After a flap surgery, your gums should be pink and healthy again, and you can prevent the recurrence of gum disease by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Your dentist will monitor your gums' health and advise you on the best ways to protect periodontal health at home.

Benefits

For patients with advanced gum disease, gingival flap surgery offers several benefits. The procedure can:

  • Improve the look of your smile: By removing plaque and tartar underneath your gum line, the surgery can encourage your gum tissue to reattach to your roots, reducing the depth and appearance of gum pockets.
  • Reduce the risk of serious illness: Gum disease has been linked to heart disease and other systemic diseases such as cancer and respiratory disease. Professional gum disease treatment can reduce the risk of these diseases and promote overall health.
  • Prevent bone or tooth loss: When left untreated, advanced periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and bone loss. Gingival flap surgery can save your teeth and prevent you from needing restorative procedures such as dental implants or bone grafting.

Risks

The risks involved are:

  • Your tooth roots may become more sensitive. The contour of the gums may change.

It is critical to keep track of your progress. Any problems should be reported to your dentist right away. If any of the following occurs:

  • Fever and chills.
  • Swelling, redness, increasing pain, excess bleeding, or any unusual discharge.
  • Stitches have become loose or are uncomfortable.

Can gum disease be prevented?

Gum diseases can be prevented by proper oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing twice daily and reversing the condition.

Flap surgery can help to create an environment for maintaining periodontal health easier. Even if you are predisposed to gum disease, professional care and good oral hygiene practices can help keep your teeth healthy.

Care at Medicover

Medicover Hospital is at the helm of dental care in India as it offers the best dental treatment. A team of expert dentists provides a comprehensive range of dental treatments in all specialties of dentistry. The dental specialty is fully equipped with sophisticated equipment and cutting-edge technology. Medicover Hospital is well-equipped for dealing with a broad spectrum of dental problems ranging from toothache, bleeding gums, bad breath, and stained teeth to cosmetic dental surgery and maxillofacial surgeries

Frequently Asked Questions:

Flap surgery can prevent and treat periodontal disease while protecting the gums, teeth, and roots from further damage. Periodontal disease cannot be cured permanently and requires ongoing monitoring and care like other chronic diseases. Maintain regular check-ups to ensure that there is no further tooth loss.

Maintain proper oral hygiene in areas of your mouth that have not been affected by surgery. Brush only the biting surface areas of the teeth and avoid areas where the dressing is present.

Gum flap surgery can introduce harmful bacteria into the bloodstream, and gum tissue is also vulnerable to infection. If you have any condition that puts you at high risk of infection, you may need to take antibiotics before and after surgery.

The healing process typically takes 7-10 days, though most pain and discomfort should begin to alleviate and disappear within 2-4 days.

References