It is a minor surgical procedure generally done in the dental office with a local anesthetic. It involves folding the gum back away from the tooth just enough so that Dr. O'Neal can see the tooth root surfaces. Once they are seen, the deep bacterial deposits crusted on the tooth can be removed. In this way, the root surfaces can be made once again acceptable to the body, and the gum can reattach, at least to a degree. Surgical access also makes it possible to graft bone into defects to repair some of the damage. After root preparation, the gum is closed back with sutures and a dressing is often placed to keep the area undisturbed, especially for the first week.
Periodontal surgery is not a cure for periodontal disease. The bacteria which causes the disease is normally in the mouth, and continually form on the teeth as a thin film, requiring meticulous personal removal on a daily basis. Periodontal surgery can achieve a complete cleansing of deep hidden bacteria deposits at a point in time. If the bacteria are kept off of the teeth long enough afterward for reattachment and healing to occur, then a healthy and maintainable periodontal attachment can be achieved. However, if the bacterial film is allowed to build up during the healing period when the gum is actually less resistant to the destructive effects of bacteria, the result may be less than desired. Excellent home care is a strict requirement, and postoperative visits are insisted upon to ensure proper healing. It is also necessary to have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist more frequently after periodontal treatment to help prevent reccurence of the disease.