Flap Surgery

Flap Surgery

What Is It?
Flap surgery is a procedure to treat gum disease (periodontitis). The gums are separated from the teeth and folded back temporarily. This allows a dentist to reach the root of the tooth and the bone.

When is it done?

If scaling and root planing does not eliminate the gum infection, gingival flap surgery may be used. It also may be done along with another procedure known as osseous (bone) surgery.

First a local anesthetic will be given to numb the area. Then the periodontist will use a scalpel to separate the gums from the teeth. They will be lifted or folded back in the form of a flap. This gives the periodontist direct access to the roots and bone supporting the teeth.

Inflamed tissue will be removed from between the teeth and from any holes (defects) in the bone. The periodontist then will do a procedure called scaling and root planing to clean plaque and calculus.

If you have bone defects, your periodontist may eliminate them. This procedure is called osseous recontouring. It smoothes the edges of the bone using files or rotating burs.

Finally, the gums will be placed back against the teeth and stitched in place. Your periodontist might use stitches that dissolve on their own or have to be removed 7- 10 days later.

A periodontal pack or dressing might be placed to cover the area


• Mild to moderate discomfort will be expected after the procedure. Your periodontist can prescribe pain medicine to control it.
• Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent an infection. Be sure to take them as instructed.
• You should keep your mouth as clean as possible while the surgical site is healing by brushing and flossing gently.
• Chlorhexidine mouth rinses are often prescribed after gum surgery.
• You may have some swelling. This can be reduced if you apply an ice pack to the outside of your face in the treated area.