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I’ve been talking a lot lately about gum disease as it is so foundational for the health of your mouth and your body. I am going talk about gum surgery today and when it should be used. First of all, surgery should not be the first option, but when it is necessary, it can and often does save teeth. That is because gum or periodontal surgery has come a long way over the years.

There are techniques including bone grafting techniques that have evolved over the years. The types of things that can be done and the results possible are quite impressive. It of course depends on the knowledge and skill of the practitioner and the healing capacity of the body.  The main difference is that instead of cutting gums back to where the bone is, often times bone can be added to support and strengthen the teeth.

Lasers can also play a role in gum surgery at the periodontal office. Instead of using a knife the periodontist can sometimes use a laser to cut tissue and coagulate the blood. The main advantage of this technique is that often there is recovery and healing that leaves the tissue and bone levels better than before. In other words there is more  bone and gum attachment after the healing is complete.

While it is not faster than traditional surgery, the results can be as good or sometimes better. Although not applicable in every situation, laser surgery definitely has its place. Most periodontists in San Diego charge around $1,000 per quadrant and there are four quadrants in the mouth. Unfortunately, the treatment needs to be completed within a 2-3 week period, so it is not something that can be done over time.

I have found that most patients first want to try the conservative and non-surgical approaches first. I have had good luck in my office with patients who will do the necessary home care required to reverse gum disease.