The Art of Periodontal Surgery

Periodontal surgery is a plastic (reshaping) surgical procedure designed to restore and regenerate normal form and function to lost and damaged periodontal structures which support the teeth (the gum tissue, periodontal ligament and bone). This article is an overview of what a candidate for periodontal surgery can expect and a primer for further information and discussion. It follows an article entitled Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease in a previous issue of Dear Doctor magazine. Periodontal Surgery in Perspective — What makes it work

An understanding of what periodontal surgery is designed to do, what makes it successful and what sustains the results over time is critical to successful treatment of periodontal disease. Periodontal surgery is not a cure, but rather an adjunct to making long-term treatment outcomes more favorable. Unlike surgery to take out an inflamed appendix, which removes the disease with it, the potential for the recurrence of periodontal disease still remains in susceptible individuals. The long-term goal of periodontal surgery is to increase the life expectancy of the teeth. Over a lifetime, the treatment for periodontal disease is primarily aimed at controlling its cause, microbial dental plaque. The purpose of periodontal surgery therefore is to treat deformities and tissue loss created by the disease process. This is accomplished by eliminating “pockets” of diseased tissue; regenerating and reconstructing gum and periodontal tissue attachment to the teeth and generally to provide an environment more conducive to daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care.