Gingival Flap Surgery


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The Gingiva is the medical name for your gums, and refers to all tissue that lies on top of the teeth.  Underneath the gingival is where the roots and nerves of your teeth lie.  Sometimes it is necessary to access the tooth through the gums, and this is when gingival flap surgery is used. 

The main use for this form of surgery is to eliminate dental plaque and tartar attack on the teeth.  It is used to help with moderate to severe gum disease so that deep infection can be reached, or as an access technique for bone surgery.  Often this surgery is a last resort and other treatments will be offered beforehand, such as root planing and scaling. 

Gingival Flap Surgery Procedure

  • You will have your teeth cleaned professionally to remove all plaque and tartar from the surface.
  • Your dentist will numb the area using a local anaesthetic
  • Your dentist will then remove the gum from the bottom of your teeth using a scalpel.  They are then rolled back as a flap would be, hence the name
  • Any procedures necessary are completed.  This is likely to include decay removal and cleaning of tartar and plaque.  Inflammed tissues are removed from the roots and from the bone
  • The gums are then put back and stitched into place
  • The area might also be covered with a dressing

Gingival Flap Surgery Recovery

You are likely to experience some pain and discomfort from this form of surgery and will be given advice on how to deal with this, and how to speed up your recovery, by your dentist.  You will have some swelling in the area affected, this can be soothed by cold packs applied to your face.  You must keep a very high standard of oral hygiene in order to minimise the risk of infection as much as possible.

It is likely that you will have some bleeding for a couple of days after the surgery.  This should be quite mild and if it continues for longer or is heavy then you ought to seek medical assistance. 

Depending on your dentist they will either use dissolvable stitches, or you will have to have the stitches removed about a week after the surgery.  In any case you will have to have a follow up appointment at about this time. 

Gingival Flap Surgery Risks

All surgery contains risk of infection as there are sutures made and bacteria can enter the body through these.  In order to keep this risk as low as possible it is important that you keep the area clean and follow your dentists advice. 

It is possible that over time the gums that were folded back could start to recede and need further treatments to rectify.

The teeth that were cleaned can sometimes become more sensitive to heat or cold.  They can also become a bit weaker, with an increased chance of them needing fillings in the future.