Many people are unaware that poor oral health can affect their overall health. In fact, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, if left untreated, can lead to health conditions including, diabetes, heart disease, and even stroke. Severe inflammation of the gum line can also cause tooth and bone loss as the supportive tissues become depleted. The highly skilled dentists at SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry in New York City are experts at combating gum disease and maintaining your health.
Signs of gum disease
Typically caused by plaque that remains on your teeth, gum disease forces your gums to pull away from your teeth and houses pockets of bacteria. While gum surgery is sometimes performed for cosmetic concerns, it is most typically used to treat the advanced stages of periodontal disease. The beginning signs of gum disease are not necessarily painful, so it is important to understand the signs and symptoms and see your dentist for routine dental checkups before gum surgery becomes necessary.
The typical signs of gum disease include:
Gums are that are red, swollen, and bleed easily
Gums appear to have pulled away from your teeth
Constant bad breath
Movement of teeth
Noticeable changes in your bite
Two common types of gum surgeries performed at SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry to treat gum disease are gingival flap and gingivectomy surgery. The third type of gum surgery is called gingivoplasty. Gingivoplasty is a cosmetic dental procedure that reshapes your gums and improves your smile typically after gum disease is treated. Periodontist Dr. Kevin Loshak performs all three gum surgeries on New York City-based patients at SmilesNY using either local anesthetic or offers a sedation alternative to ensure patient comfort level. If you think you may have gum disease, read below to learn more about how the three different types of surgeries are performed.
1. Gingival Flap Surgery
Gingival flap surgery is used to treat patients with moderate to severe gum disease. During your consultation at SmileNY in New York City, Dr. Loshak examines your teeth and gums to assess the degree of gum disease, determining candidacy for this surgery. Surgical cuts in the gums enable them to be folded back in the form of a flap from the teeth, exposing enamel, roots, and bone of the supporting teeth. Next, a deep cleaning is performed to eliminate the plaque build-up and excess inflamed tissue. The recessed gums tissue is adjusted to the correct position. The gums are then stitched back in place. Sometimes with this surgery, gum grafting is required to even out the gums.
2. Gingivectomy Surgery
Gingivectomy surgery is different from the gingival flap surgery in that the procedure removes and reshapes a portion of the severely diseased gum. This surgery is typically recommended before the disease affects the supporting bone of the tooth. Candidates who need this surgery most often have loose gums that have pulled away from the surrounding tooth. The gums are then reattached using sutures and thoroughly cleaned.
3. Gingivoplasty Surgery
This cosmetic dental surgery involves reshaping your gums for aesthetic purposes. For patients in New York City, this procedure is often the final stage of corrective gum disease surgery. Once the patient’s gums have healed from the initial gum surgery, this procedure shapes the healthy gums, restoring the proper function and making them aesthetically appealing. A common reason to have this surgery is to fix the “gummy smile,” or where the gums cover too much of teeth. The gums would be surgically reduced, exposing more teeth when smiling. This surgery can dramatically improve a patient’s self-confidence when they feel better about their appearance.
Recovery from gum surgery
Before the surgery, Dr. Kevin Loshak will review all post-operative care instructions. While most gum surgeries are relatively simple and not too painful, it is reasonable to experience some pain and swelling after surgery. Pain medication and possibly antibiotics may be prescribed during recovery. Once the anesthesia has worn off, daily activities may be resumed. When your gums have fully healed, it is important to follow routine oral hygiene practices to prevent new infections. Gums typically heal in a few days or weeks depending on the patient and the extent of work performed.
Preventing gum disease
Gum disease is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup. The best way for New York City area men and women to prevent and even reverse periodontal disease is to follow proper oral hygiene, which includes daily brushing and flossing, in addition to regular, twice a year, dental appointments to remove bacterial buildup.
If you notice any signs or symptoms of unhealthy gums, we encourage you to call SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry in New York City to schedule an appointment at our office. Our expert dentists and dedicated office staff are focused on patient health to keep you looking and feeling your best, with a beautiful smile to boot.