Operculectomy: Signs and Treatment

Operculectomy is a dental surgical operation that involves the removal of the operculum, which often covers the wisdom teeth. The operculum is a flap of gum tissue that surrounds a partly erupted tooth and becomes inflammatory after repeated impact. The treatment is often performed by a dentist in Kokomo, IN on the molars, which are the most susceptible to impaction due to their location. Impaction occurs when a tooth fails to emerge completely from the gum line, resulting in discomfort, irritation, and an increased risk of infection. In this article, we will discuss the signs that you need operculectomy and how it is performed.

What Happens If Operculectomy Is Not Performed?

  1. Pericoronitis: It is an inflammation of the soft tissues around the crown of a partly erupted tooth.
  2. Bacterial penetration into the follicular space causes infection, which is exacerbated by food debris trapped near the operculum and occlusal stress to the pericoronal tissues caused by the opposing tooth.

Signs That You Need an Operculectomy

  • If you feel pain or discomfort where a tooth is partially erupted and covered by an operculum, it might indicate an impacted or infected tooth.
  • Inflammation and swelling in the afflicted region may suggest infection or abscess formation. This can result in discomfort, agony, and serious health problems.
  • Increased Risk of Infection: An operculum can create a pocket between the tooth and gum tissue, which can trap bacteria and food particles. This can lead to an increased risk of infection in the affected area.

How is the Procedure Performed?

The patient is given local anesthesia before surgery. The dentist then makes one or more incisions on the operculum, loosening the flap on top of the affected tooth. Using a scalpel, the dentist then proceeds to excise the gum tissue. The dentist can also use a radio-surgical loop to remove the operculum. The wound is then closed with sutures, or the dentist can leave it open to heal by itself.

Operculectomy can also be performed using electrocautery. A small probe is placed on the surgical site, and a mild electric current is transferred into the tissue. The heat resulting from the alternating current can cause the soft tissue of the operculum to disintegrate. This allows the dentist to cut through and remove the gum tissue covering the chewing surface of the tooth. No dressing is required for this procedure.