Periodontal Surgery & Oral Surgery

Periodontal Surgery in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, & Hampton, VA

Periodontal surgery is recommended by a periodontist in case of a positive diagnosis of periodontal gum disease. This can be an extremely aggressive infection, which can damage the periodontal structures, acting as a vital protective shield for the teeth, while keeping them attached to the jaw. If left untreated, gum disease and gingivitis can lead to tooth loss, having an equally harmful effect on both health and appearance.

How Do I Control Gum Disease?

Management of gum disease and gingivitis sometimes requires aggressive treatment or, in other words, surgery.  Periodontal surgery can help treat moderate to advanced periodontal disease.

The underlying cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, which usually takes the form of a thin film consisting of food remnants and bacteria building up on tooth surfaces in case of superficial or inefficient oral hygiene. The common body reaction to gum bacterial infection is inflammation, which is the defense mechanism of the human body to isolate bacteria and destroy it.

As the struggle between body and infection rages, the inflammation becomes chronic and damages the gum and bone tissues. This, in turn, results in teeth losing attachment to gum and supporting bone, which creates a vacuum between the gums and teeth, known as periodontal pockets. As the pockets become deeper, oral hygiene becomes ineffective.

Preventing gum infection and gingivitis from spreading and its evolution into gum disease requires removal of bacterial plaque and calcus (hardened plaque deposits) from all teeth surfaces and the roots lying beneath the gum line.

Additionally, a change in lifestyle is also recommended on the part of the patient. The ailment develops and progresses especially because of improper oral hygiene. A daily habit of brushing and flossing teeth is a good step forward toward gum disease prevention.  Ideally, create a teeth-brushing routine after each meal. Your periodontist can give you specific guidelines as to how you can prevent gum disease and gingivitis.

What Should I Expect From Periodontal Surgery?

If you were diagnosed with gum disease, the periodontal procedure used by your periodontist could help by:

  • Eliminating bacteria lurking beneath your gums
  • Facilitating teeth brushing and flossing
  • Reshaping the teeth-supporting bones
  • Preventing future gum damage

When Is Periodontal Surgery Recommended?

If you suffer from severe or advanced gum disease and gingivitis, the gums and the tissues supporting your teeth are the usual subjects of periodontal surgery.

People with gum disease usually experience a variety of symptoms including swollen, red and/or bleeding gums, deep pockets forming between gums and teeth, loose teeth, pain when chewing, bad breath, receding gums.

It’s best to seek advice from a periodontist if you experience any of the above symptoms. Your periodontist will recommend the best treatment or even recommend a milder treatment if the disease isn’t advanced.

Pre-Operative Treatment

Roughly two weeks before periodontal surgery, your periodontist may recommend that you stop taking certain drugs, such as aspirin, painkillers, and blood thinners. In most cases, a periodontist will also recommend not smoking or drinking alcohol at least 24 hours before surgical intervention.

To minimize the risk of post-operative infection, a periodontist might also recommend antibiotic treatment a few days before the procedure.

It is advisable to ask for help after surgery. Despite that anesthesia will only be local, the sedatives and other medication you will be given post surgery may affect or even delay your reactions and ability to drive. It is vital to strictly follow the dentist's recommendation before and after periodontal surgery.

Periodontal Surgery: Types And Options

Periodontal surgery is usually performed by a dentist or a periodontist. Depending on the degree of severity, there are different types of periodontal surgery that may be recommended for each specific condition. The standard procedures include flap surgery, gum grafting, bone grafting, guided tissue regeneration, soft tissue grafting, and protein therapy.

Flap surgery

This procedure consists of a series of small cuts that the surgeon makes in your gum to lift a section of tissue back. This allows tartar and bacteria to be removed easily from your tooth and from beneath your gums. The gums are then sutured back, and the tissue is fit firmly around your teeth. After healing, it will be easier to clean the area on your teeth and gums.

Gum Grafting

Gum grafting is used to treat receding gums and to prevent further loss of gum tissue. During gum grafting, your periodontist will remove the bacterial plaque and the build-up of tartar from the teeth and root surface. Gum grafting will help the patient's gums heal and will also ensure that there is no further damage.

Bone grafting

Bone grafting is recommended in more severe cases when the bone around the tooth root is damaged. In such case, the bone is replaced with a graft, hence the name. The bone graft is usually built from small parts of the patient’s bone, a donated bone or synthetic bone-like material. This type of procedure prevents tooth loss and may prompt natural bone regeneration.

Guided tissue regeneration

During this procedure, the periodontist will place a small piece of material in-between the bone and gum tissue to promote bone re-growth.

Although tissue regeneration is the desired outcome of any periodontal therapy, it is the most difficult to achieve. A periodontist can use different approaches such as local application of growth factors/cytokines and host modulating agents.

Sometimes, endodontic or root canal infections are coupled with periodontal infections, putting a periodontist to the test, as the endodontic and periodontal tissues are biologically and functionally interrelated. Hence, endodontic infection influences the development of marginal bone loss in periodontitis.  That is why individuals suffering from or at risk of developing periodontitis or periodontal gum disease who also have an endodontic infection are three-fold more prone to experience tooth loss compared to patients without any infection.

Epithelial cells (which form tissues) migrate ten times faster compared to other periodontal cell types. If the epithelial cells are removed from the damaged teeth lining long enough to allow other cells with the regenerative potential to grow and reinstate balance, epithelial down growth is curbed and regeneration achieved.

Soft tissue grafting

When gums start receding, a graft can help restore part of the lost tissue. A periodontist will remove a small piece of tissue from the roof of your mouth or use donor tissue to fill up the areas where tissue is spare or missing.

The main benefit of soft tissue grafting is that it reduces further recession and bone loss. It can also cover exposed roots and thus protect them from decay. Soft tissue grafting can help minimize tooth sensitivity while improving appearance.

This type of procedure is also known as a free gingival graft, other soft tissue grafting procedures with the same expected result include connective tissue graft and pedicle graft.

A connective tissue graft involves removing a thin strip of connective tissue from a small pouch in the mouth and fitting it in a pouch over the exposed roots to protect them from decay. In comparison, pedicle graft entails “sharing” a small part of soft tissue between the affected area and the adjacent gum. In this case, a precise flap is detached, while preserving its connection to its nutrient (blood) supply, and slid sideways to cover the exposed root. Sometimes, pedicle graft and connective tissue graft are combined to ensure optimal root coverage.

Protein therapy

In some cases, the periodontist may apply a gel rich in special proteins to the damaged tooth root. This procedure promotes healthy bone and tissue growth.

Recovery After Periodontal Surgery

Recovery after periodontal surgery is generally dependent on the severity of the disease, overall health of the patient in question and the type of procedure being performed. Typically, minor bleeding and discomfort can be expected after any kind of dental surgery. Normally, patients can resume their usual routine one day after surgery.

Smoking negatively impacts your body’s capacity to heal after periodontal surgery. Ideally, this habit is to be avoided for an extended period of time after the periodontal procedure. To avoid tobacco temptation, try to keep your mind and hands busy by solving cross-word puzzles after lunch, or whenever you feel like smoking.  Mint or cinnamon-flavored toothpicks, coffee stirrers, and gum may also help when you crave for some flavorful.

Additionally, as part of the recovery treatment, you might also need to use a special mouth rinse or take an antibiotic after periodontal surgery. Healing takes time, so don’t be alarmed if you will not be able to brush or floss in certain areas of your mouth for an extended time after surgery. On top of that, many dentists recommend eating soft foods for a couple of weeks following periodontal surgery.

If you have undergone periodontal surgery, you may consider adding to your menu foods like Jell-O, pudding, ice cream, yogurt, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, pasta, mashed potatoes and other veggies.


The cost of periodontal surgery varies depending on the prescribed type of procedure as well as the severity of the disease. Generally, gum disease therapy costs anywhere from $500 to $10,000.

Health insurance companies generally cover at least part of the cost of the periodontal procedure. Talk to your dentist, if the cost of the procedure falls out of your budget. Sometimes, dentist offices can either negotiate better payment options with insurance companies or, alternatively set up a payment plan with you. Remember, that postponing therapy can and often leads to more complex and expensive treatments in the long term.

Dental Care At The Foleck Center

Looking after the health of your oral cavity, in general, and of your gums, in particular, is vital to your overall well-being. Undergoing periodontal surgery is likely to reduce your chances of tooth loss, further gum damage, but also may help prevent developing other chronic ails, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

At The Foleck Center, we have a team of dentists who can help manage and treat periodontal disease and gingivitis. Talk to our dentist to see which type of periodontal procedure could be beneficial to you. We will make sure our patients are free from any dental issues and that the treatment they receive at our clinic is of the highest quality. Patient satisfaction is the key, and we want to make sure that your experience is comfortable and pain-free.

Dealing with periodontal disease and gingivitis can be very challenging. It is important to remember is that you should not delay seeking treatment as this could make the disease much worse. Many people tend to take issues related to their teeth and gums very lightly. Either it is the anxiety associated with pain or the cost that forces them to avoid getting treatment. But you must know that periodontal disease is a serious thing. If you suffer from symptoms that could indicate gum disease and gingivitis, you need to call The Foleck Center to schedule an appointment. Our first consultation is free, and we are here to answer any queries or concerns you might have about gum disease, its treatment, costs, possible side effects and recovery time.

You don't have to live with a periodontal disease. You certainly don’t have to deal with the pain and other symptoms associated with this disease. Keep in mind that if left untreated, you may end up with even more complications. That is why it is important to see a dentist and to seek treatment as soon as possible. Your oral health is important Regular check-ups with your dentist should be a priority for you, and if there is any issue related to your teeth or gums, you should get it treated quickly. With three convenient locations in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Hampton, we are here to serve every patient in need, and we want to ensure that you get the most effective treatment in the best possible way. Call our dental office today and schedule your first consultation at the location that suits you best.