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Periodontal Surgery—Open Flap
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Periodontal Surgery—Open Flap?

Periodontal disease refers to bacterial plaque and infections around the gum and tooth root. It can happen around one or several teeth. In its more advanced stages, surgery may be needed to fix damaged gums.

During flap surgery, the periodontist makes a small incision in the gum, pulls back the gum flap, cleans out the infected, plaque-filled pocket, and stitches the gums back in place.

Periodontal Disease

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This surgery is needed when:

  • Deep infected pockets have formed and it is too hard to keep them clean
  • Gums around the teeth are damaged and cannot be fixed with nonsurgical techniques, like deep cleaning and medicines

This surgery slows the progression of periodontal disease by reducing deep pockets and bacterial growth. Periodontal disease can cause other health problems if not treated.

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have periodontal surgery, your dentist will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Changes in gum appearance
  • Bleeding
  • Reaction to the sedation medicines (eg, light-headedness, low blood pressure, wheezing)
  • Infection
  • Gum swelling
  • Nausea and vomiting

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Smoking
  • Other health conditions, like diabetes