Do You Need A Vestibuloplasty Before Implant Or Denture Placement?

If you are missing teeth, you and your dentist may be discussing a few restorative options, such as implants or dentures. Before you undergo surgery or are fitted with overdentures, your dentist might recommend preparatory surgeries, like bone or gum grafting, to provide better underlying support for the restoration. One surgery your dentist might recommend is a vestibuloplasty. The oral vestibule is the transitional space from your attached gum tissue to lip and cheek tissue. During a vestibuloplasty, your dentist will deepen the oral vestibule to provide more space for the restoration process. Read on to see why this is done, who might need it, and what it entails.  

Who Needs It?

If you've been missing teeth for a while, your jawbone may have resorbed or atrophied, which could have shrunk the vestibular space; patients with bone resorption may need a vestibuloplasty before getting an implant or denture placement. If you are getting dentures, a vestibuloplasty may provide more surface area for the denture base so that it sits comfortably over your gums.

A vestibuloplasty may also be recommended for people who naturally have a shallow vestibule or people who are prone to plaque accumulation or gum disease. One study found that there is a higher incidence of peri-implantitis in patients with a shallow vestibule, so having a vestibuloplasty can reduce that complication in patients getting implants. A shallow vestibule also may cause an overpull in the mentalis muscle (a muscle in the chin), so a vestibuloplasty can prevent excess pulling and provide a more stable soft tissue environment around implants.

What Does A Vestibuloplasty Entail?

Because a vestibuloplasty is an oral surgery, your general dentist might refer you to a dental specialist, like an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The procedure is an outpatient surgery and is usually performed with a local anesthetic and intravenous oral sedation.

During surgery, your dentist will use a scalpel or diode laser to carefully separate muscle attachments and connective tissue between one's gums and cheeks. Then they will suture the tissue once the vestibule is separated enough. To improve healing times, your dentist might also place a gum graft from another area of the mouth (like the palate) over the incision.

After surgery, your dentist may prescribe some mouth rinses, pain relievers, and antibiotics to keep the incision from getting infected. You may also get aftercare instructions, such as how to keep the area clean and how to follow a soft-food diet while you heal. After a few weeks, you should be healed up, and your dentist may be able to fit you with dentures or start the process of implant placement.

Reach out to a dentist today to learn more.