What is Periodontal Access Surgery?
In cases when deep pockets exist around the teeth, it can be very difficult to eliminate the underlying bacteria by non-surgical scaling and root planing. Your Periodontist may notice that there is bleeding or pus within the deep pocket, indicating that your gum disease is likely to be progressing. Without further treatment it is likely that more of the gum tissue and supporting bone will be lost.
Your Periodontist may recommend periodontal surgery so that they can gain better ‘access’ to remove the harmful bacteria. This may be the case if the bacteria is too deep to reach when cleaning from the surface, or is hidden between the roots of your teeth. The removal of the bacteria reduces the likelihood that your periodontal disease will progress.
What Does Periodontal Access Surgery Involve?
Periodontal access surgery is carried out under local anaesthesia in the dental chair. The area will be numb during the procedure and will take approximately 1-2 hours to wear off. The patient is awake during the procedure and will not feel any pain once the area is numb.
During periodontal surgery, the gums are folded back to allow better access to the problem area. The harmful bacteria can then be removed successfully. The Periodontist will use the same instruments that were used during non-surgical scaling and root planing.
In some instances, the damaged bone around the teeth has become irregular as a result of periodontal disease. In this case, the bone is smoothed to give it a more natural form (osseous surgery). This makes the area easier to clean.
In some cases your Periodontist may recommend a regenerative procedure to help improve the bone and tissue support around your teeth. This will depend upon what is seen on your x-rays and during the periodontal access surgery procedure. (Link to Regenerative Procedures)
At the completion of the procedure, the gum tissue is repositioned back in place and sutures (‘stitches’) are used to help with gum healing. In some cases a surgical dressing may be placed over the area. Your Periodontist will see you in two weeks’ time to review how the area is healing. They will also remove any remaining sutures or the dressing at this appointment.
What Happens after the Surgery?
Your Periodontist will provide you with detailed instructions about how to care for your mouth after your surgery. You will also be given written instructions to take home.
Your Periodontist will see you two weeks following your surgery to review how the area is healing. They will also remove any remaining sutures or the dressing at this appointment.
Preparing for Your Surgery:
Eating: It is important to eat a normal breakfast or lunch prior to your surgery
Medications: Continue to take your usual medications. You will be advised if there is any need to vary this.
If you have been advised by your doctor or medical specialist to take antibiotics prior to receiving dental treatment (e.g. following a hip replacement or due to a heart condition) please take the required dose of antibiotics one hour prior to your surgery.
Oral Hygiene: Be sure to clean your teeth thoroughly to ensure there is minimal plaque present prior to your surgery.
Smoking: It is advisable for your oral and general health that you to quit smoking all together. At the very least, it is important that you try to minimise your smoking before and after your surgery.