Osseous Surgery in Long Island

Research indicates that almost half of all Americans aged 30 and above have periodontal disease of some form. Often referred to as gum disease, periodontal disease is a serious infection of the gum tissue. As well as potentially causing tooth loss, studies have found that periodontal disease can lead to, or aggravate, several significant health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.

What is Periodontal Disease?

When we eat, small particles of food remain in our mouth. As these morsels decompose, they cause plaque and tartar, or calculus, to gather along the edges of the gums. This buildup becomes a breeding ground for more bacteria, which produce inflammatory acid. Gum tissue becomes inflamed and may redden, swell and bleed. Bad breath is common, and there may be tenderness, heightened sensitivity or pain in the mouth.

If early-stage gum disease isn't treated, the disease progresses, causing gum tissue to lift away from the teeth. This creates small pouches within the gums where even more food particles and bacteria can gather. If the infection spreads deeper under the gums, it can damage more tissue and the bones that support the teeth. This usually results in tooth loss if left untreated.

Osseus surgery is a common method of treating periodontal disease in its advanced stages.

What is Osseus Surgery?

Essentially, osseus surgery allows for a thorough deep clean underneath your gums. The gums are removed from the teeth to provide access to the root, allowing Dr. Scharf to remove a greater amount of bacteria, plaque and calculus as compared with less-invasive techniques. As well as cleaning the teeth and gums, osseus surgery reduces the depth of gingival pockets, thus reducing the risk of continued harmful buildup. After the gums have been reattached to the teeth, the end result is a healthier mouth and stronger teeth.

How is Osseus Surgery Performed?

Typically performed under local anesthesia as an outpatient procedure, the first stage of osseus surgery is fine cuts in the gums around the teeth to allow the tissue to be pulled away from the teeth like a flap. Dr. Scharf will then scrape calculus accumulation off the surface of the teeth and roots before smoothing away any irregularities in the bone.

If there is significant bone loss you may need a bone graft or other regenerative procedure, such as bone recontouring, before the gums can be reattached. The gum tissue is then pulled back into place and stitched tightly against the smooth bone and around the teeth. Sutures may be traditional, and need removing at a later date, or we may use stitches that dissolve by themselves. Lastly, a surgical gauze dressing will be applied to affected areas to absorb any blood and promote oral hygiene.

The length of time for the procedure to be completed largely depends on how many teeth are affected. Dr. Scharf will discuss this, and other concerns you may have, prior to surgery.

What is the Aftercare Following Osseus Surgery?

If you experience any pain following the procedure, over-the-counter pain medication is typically sufficient to provide relief. In the unlikely event that you experience severe or long-lasting pain, you should contact us. It's important that you carefully and correctly follow all aftercare instructions, such as replacing the gauze regularly if bleeding persists and regularly rinsing your mouth with a prescription mouthwash if recommended to do so.

Most patients can eat and drink as normal within just a couple of days of surgery, though you should avoid consuming hot food and beverages for the first day. It's recommended that you eat relatively soft and bland foods for around a week after surgery, and you shouldn't eat anything spicy during the healing stage.

You should attend a follow-up appointment as scheduled, during which the stitches will be removed if required and we will check that the gums are healing correctly. We will also discuss your ongoing oral hygiene and care, and you should attend routine check-ups and cleaning appointments.

Does Osseus Surgery Have any Downsides?

While the benefits of osseus surgery typically outweigh any negative aspects, the procedure may alter the appearance of the interior of your mouth. Any spaces between your teeth may look bigger than previously and your gums may be more receded, which can make your teeth look longer. Additionally, receded gums often lead to greater exposure of the root, which can increase sensitivity when you eat and drink.

As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection, especially if you do not correctly follow recommended cleaning and aftercare regimens. However, antibiotics are prescribed in most cases to reduce the risk of post-surgical infections.

Are There Any Alternatives to Osseus Surgery?

In some cases, especially where periodontal disease is relatively minor, we may recommend the LANAP treatment instead.

LANAP is the acronym for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure. As the name implies, this innovative and relatively recent dental procedure uses lasers to treat gum disease. Rather than lifting the gum tissue, LANAP works by inserting a small laser-tipped probe under the gum. As the laser is directed around the tooth, it effectively kills bacteria and destroys damaged tissue while causing no harm to healthy tissue or tooth enamel.

As compared with traditional osseus surgery, LANAP typically causes less pain and discomfort and has a quicker recovery time with a lower risk of infection. Changes to appearance are also usually less noticeable. Chair-time is relatively short, with treatment sessions usually lasting for just two hours, although you will likely need another repeat session.

Take care of your oral health, protect your teeth and contact us to discuss your options for treating periodontal disease and to find out whether osseus surgery is right for you.

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