Periodontal Surgery -- Open Flap
(Pocket Depth Reduction)
Reasons for Procedure
- 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 medications
- Tooth sensitivity
- Changes in gum appearance
- Reaction to the sedation
- Gum swelling
- Nausea and vomiting
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Tell your dentist of any recent changes to your health, medications, allergies, or supplements.
- Take your prescription medications, unless your dentist says otherwise.
- Talk to your dentist or pharmacist if you are taking more than one drug. Some drugs can be dangerous when mixed. This includes over-the-counter medications and herb or dietary supplements.
- You may be asked to take an antibiotic before surgery.
- Arrange for a ride if you are having sedation.
Description of Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incision
- Rest as needed.
- Take over-the-counter medications as advised for swelling and pain.
- Apply an ice pack to the side of your cheek for 15-20 minutes at a time. Place a towel between the ice pack and your skin.
- Eat small amounts of soft or pureed foods.
- Do not smoke, rinse your mouth, or use a straw.
- Apply dressings or gauze to the area as directed to absorb blood and saliva.
- Do not exercise for a few days as directed.
- Do not drive until your dentist says it is okay to do so.
Call Your Dentist
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, a lot of bleeding, or any unusual discharge
- Pain and swelling that is not controlled with medication or home care
- Dressing or stitches have come loose or are uncomfortable
- Loose tissue
- Continued swelling after 48 hours
- Other new symptoms, allergic reactions, or concerns
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
American Academy of Periodontology http://www.perio.org
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH) http://www.nidcr.nih.gov
Canadian Dental Association http://www.cda-adc.ca
The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association http://www.cdha.ca
Periodontal (gum) disease: Causes, symptoms, and treatments. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Updated August 2012. Accessed August 25, 2014.
Periodontal pocket reduction procedures. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: http://www.perio.org/consumer/pocket-reduction-procedures.htm. Accessed August 25, 2014.
Periodontitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 9, 2014. Accessed August 25, 2014.
6/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 01/23/2014 -