Periodontal Surgery


What to Expect from Periodontal Surgery

If you have a serious gum infection, known as periodontal disease, your dentist might recommend surgery. This procedure can:

  • remove bacteria from beneath your gums
  • make it easier to clean your teeth
  • reshape the bones that support your teeth
  • prevent future gum damage

Who’s a good candidate?

People with severe or advanced disease around their gums and the tissues that support their teeth are usually candidates for periodontal surgery.

If you have gum disease, your symptoms might include:

Your doctor will let you know if you could benefit from periodontal surgery. Your dentist might recommend more conservative treatment approaches if your gum disease isn’t advanced.


A couple of weeks before your procedure, you may need to stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin), pain relievers, and blood thinners. Most dentists advise not smoking or drinking alcohol at least 24 hours before the procedure.

Your doctor might give you an antibiotic to take before your procedure to lower your chances of developing an infection.

You should also arrange for someone to take you home after your procedure is finished. The anesthesia, sedation, or other medications you’ll receive during the procedure might affect your reaction times. That means it may not be safe for you to drive afterward.

Follow your doctor’s specific instructions on how to prepare for your surgery.


A dentist or periodontist performs the surgery. There are different types of surgical options. Your doctor will determine what type of surgery or surgeries are appropriate for your specific condition.

Flap surgery

With this common procedure, surgeons make small cuts in your gum and lift a section of tissue back. Then, they remove tartar and bacteria from your tooth and from under your gums. The gums are sutured back, so the tissue fits firmly around your teeth. Once you heal, it will be easier to clean areas on your teeth and gums.

Bone grafting

If gum disease has damaged the bone surrounding your tooth root, your dentist might have to replace it with a graft. The bone graft can be made from small parts of your own bone, a synthetic bone, or donated bone. This procedure helps prevent tooth loss and may help promote natural bone regrowth.

Guided tissue regeneration

This technique involves placing a small piece of material between your bone and gum tissue to allow bone to regrow.

Soft tissue grafts

When gums recede, a graft can help restore some of the tissue you lost. Dentists remove a small piece of tissue from the roof of your mouth or use donor tissue to attach to the areas where tissue is sparse or missing.


Sometimes, surgeons apply a gel that contains special proteins to the diseased tooth root. This can encourage healthy bone and tissue growth.