What Is Gum Surgery?

Your gums are an integral part of your oral health and help protect tooth roots and prevent tooth sensitivity. Maintaining your gum health is essential to keeping your teeth healthy, which is why preventing gum disease is so important.

However, sometimes periodontal, or gum, surgery is necessary to correct an issue with the gums, whether it be cosmetic or restorative. There are different types of gum surgery that oral healthcare professionals perform to help treat certain diseases and improve the appearance of your smile.

But what exactly is gum surgery, and when is it needed? Let’s take a closer look at the different types of gum surgery that you may need to restore your smile.

Facts about Surgery for Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Surgery for Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Do you need surgery for gum disease? The answer is: it depends.

Gum surgery for periodontal disease can involve a couple different procedures. If you have severe gum recession—in which gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer and leaving tooth roots exposed—you may need a gum graft to help restore your gums.

A gum graft involves taking tissue from another area of your mouth and grafting it over the part of your gums that left tooth roots exposed. Gum grafting can help protect against future recession, correct tooth sensitivity, and restore the appearance of your smile.

If you have advanced gum disease, another type of procedure your dentist may recommend is a pocket reduction. In gum disease, bacteria can cause pockets of infected tissue to form between your gums and your teeth, which can cause gum recession and loose teeth. Pocket reduction can be done with root scaling and planing—a deep cleaning procedure for mild to moderate cases of gum disease—or with additional surgical procedures such as gum grafts.

After removing the affected tissue, your surgeon will suture your gum tissue to reattach it and help prevent future infections and restore your smile.

Laser Gum Surgery for Gummy Smile

If you have excess periodontal tissue covering your teeth, commonly known as gummy smile, gum surgery can help remove excess tissue and reveal more of your teeth. This procedure is called a gingivectomy and can be done with lasers rather than conventional surgical techniques.

Laser gum surgery can help contour the gums to their correct shape and reveal more of your natural smile. Laser gum surgery typically results in less pain, a faster recovery, and a shorter treatment time, all with a minimally invasive procedure. Laser therapy can also be used for a single tooth with excess gum tissue even if you don’t have gummy smile in what’s known as a crown lengthening procedure.

Besides cosmetic concerns, laser gum surgery can also be used to help remove oral lesions, such as those present in oral cancer, and even for gum disease.

Frenectomy for Lip or Tongue Ties

A frenectomy is a type of gum surgery that removes excess tissue connecting the upper and lower lips to the gums or the tongue to the bottom of your mouth.

For some people, the frena in their mouth are too short or too long, which can cause problems with eating and speech. It can also increase your risk for gapped teeth and gum recession.

A problem with the frena may be identified in infancy, as some infants with an abnormal frenum have trouble eating, or it may not be diagnosed until later in life. Conventional surgery or laser therapy may both be options for frenectomy procedures.

FAQs About Gum Surgery

Gum surgeries are common procedures that can help treat a variety of issues for healthy gums. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about gum surgery to help you understand more about the procedures and what your experience may be like.

Is Having Gum Surgery Painful?

As with any surgical procedure, some discomfort is to be expected after the surgery. However, your dentist or oral surgeon will ensure you are numb for the procedure so that you will not experience discomfort during your appointment. Your provider will let you know what to expect post-surgery and provide you with detailed instructions for how to minimize your discomfort and what medications you should take as you heal.

Do Gums Grow Back After Surgery?

If you have had gum surgery for gummy smile or crown lengthening, you do not need to worry about your gum tissue growing back. Once the gum tissue is removed, it will not grow back post-surgery.

When Is Gum Surgery Necessary?

Gum surgery may be necessary for gum disease, crown lengthening when having a dental restoration such as a porcelain crown installed, or for treating oral cancer. Treatment is not necessary for gummy smile, as it does not normally impact your oral health, but many patients opt for this procedure to improve their appearance.

How Much Does Gum Surgery Cost?

As with most medical procedures, the cost will be specific your unique needs. Your dental insurance may cover some or all of the cost of your gum surgery if the procedure is not solely cosmetic. Your dentist in Asheville can give you a detailed estimate for your gum surgery based on your goals for your smile, and payment plans are typically available for what insurance does not cover.

Is Laser Gum Surgery Safe?

Yes, laser gum surgery is considered to be safe and effective. Since there is lower risk for infection, less bleeding, and a shorter recovery, laser gum surgery may be a worthy consideration for your procedure. However, since no surgical procedure is without risk, your oral healthcare provider will review all the risks with you and discuss your candidacy for the procedure during your consultation.

Worried About Your Gums? Schedule a Checkup With Saunders DDS

If you’re concerned about your gum tissue or are curious about gum surgery, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Saunders DDS. We can evaluate your smile and discuss your treatment options with you whether you are interested in crown lengthening or need treatment for gum disease. Call us at (828) 277-6060 or reach us online via our contact form today.

Don’t let gum problems hold you back! Saunders DDS can provide more information on gum surgery and help you to choose the best treatment.