Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Flap Procedure for Gum Disease
You may need surgery for severe gum disease
(periodontitis) if it cannot be cured with
antibiotics or root planing and scaling. A flap
procedure cleans the
roots of a tooth and repairs bone damage caused by
gum disease. A gum specialist (periodontist) or an
oral surgeon often performs the procedure.
Before the procedure,
you will be given a
local anesthetic to numb the area where the doctor
will work on your gums.
The doctor will pull back a section of
your gums to clean the
roots of your teeth and repair damaged bone, if
needed. The gum flap will be sewn back into place and covered with gauze to
stop the bleeding.
Bone may be:
Typically it takes only a few days to
recover from a flap procedure. Be sure to follow the home care instructions
that your dentist or oral surgeon gives you. If you have questions about your
instructions, call the dentist or surgeon. The following are general
suggestions to help speed recovery:
A few days after the procedure, your dentist will remove
The flap procedure is necessary when
severe gum disease (periodontitis) has damaged the bones that support your
If you maintain good dental care
after the surgery, the flap procedure should allow you to clean your teeth and gums better. Your
gums should become pink and healthy again.
The roots of your teeth may become more
The contour or shape of your gums may change.
Gum surgery can introduce harmful bacteria into the
bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of infection. You may need to take
antibiotics before and after surgery if you have a condition that puts you at
high risk for a severe infection or if infections are
particularly dangerous for you. You may need to take antibiotics if you:
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerSteven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.