Vestibuloplasty is considered pre-prosthetic surgery, meaning it's often performed before placement of a dental appliance, such as dentures. The procedure is designed to deepen the vestibule of your mouth — which is the area between your cheeks and teeth. Deepening the vestibule provides more surface area and space for full dentures, partial dentures or implants. Widening the area may also make it easier to maintain good hygiene around the replacement teeth.
When Do You Need Vestibuloplasty?
Having a shallow vestibule can make it easier for plaque to accumulate in your mouth, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research. Plaque buildup can lead to further problems, such as gum inflammation, gum recession and the development of pockets at the base of your teeth. For patients with dentures, a shallow vestibule may mean it's more difficult to clean around the denture-holding area and more difficult to hold the dentures in place comfortably.
Before your dental professional helps you choose your prosthetic device, they will examine your mouth and ensure it is ready for the replacement teeth. It's important that you continue communicating with them about any discomfort or oral hygiene issues during this time so they can assess whether or not vestibuloplasty would benefit you.
What to Expect
A vestibuloplasty procedure may be performed with a scalpel or a laser, and a number of different techniques exist, as outlined in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research study. The conventional method involves incisions to separate connective tissue and some muscle attachments in the area where the cheeks meet the gums, right at the base of the teeth. Once the dental professional has made the incisions to deepen the vestibule area, they will stitch the cheek in its new location. Sometimes, a graft of tissue from another part of the mouth will be placed over the incision to speed up the healing process.
Alternatively, a dental professional may prefer to use a laser to remove the muscle fibers and widen the vestibule. Afterward, they may use a different type of laser to help jump-start the healing process over the course of several sessions. The laser technique may reduce scarring, bypass the need for stitches and result in a shorter overall procedure, reports the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research study.
Before either procedure, your dental professional will administer adequate anesthesia to ensure you remain comfortable.
After the procedure, your dental professional may prescribe a combination of antibiotics, pain relievers and mouthrinses to help keep the pain and plaque at bay, as stated in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research study. If you have stitches, you will need to visit your provider again approximately 10 days or so after the procedure to get them removed. After about four weeks, the site should be noticeably healed and the vestibule should appear deeper.
During this time, you'll likely visit your provider for follow-up appointments. Be sure to follow their specific care instructions to keep the area clean during the healing process. They may also recommend eating a soft diet and following a rigid oral care routine, reports a study in Craniomaxillofacial Trauma & Reconstruction.
If dentures are part of your treatment plan, the appliances may be constructed either prior to the surgery or after the vestibule area has fully healed, according to a study in the Journal of IMAB. If the dentures have already been made, they may be inserted as soon as the stitches have been removed. However, they may need to be refitted to match the new, post-surgery shape of your mouth. If your dental professional has recommended waiting to fit your dentures until your mouth has fully healed, you will likely have them placed about one month after the surgery.
Vestibuloplasty is just one part of a larger plan to replace teeth and restore a patient's smile. Your dental team will create a unique treatment plan that is right for you and gives you a mouth full of healthy, attractive teeth.