Tuberosity Reduction Surgery

What is tuberosity reduction?

A tuberosity is a rounded bony protrusion at the back of your last molar located at the upper jaw. It is covered by gum tissue. Through a tuberosity reduction, it will make the tuberosity smaller.

What is a tuberosity reduction used for?

If you still have all your teeth then a tuberosity should not be a problem although if you have lost some of your upper teeth and you need a denture then there may be a tuberosity hanging down beyond the rest of your upper jaw. This will make it hard for the denture to fit. The upper dentures stays put because of the seal with the upper jaw and the roof of your mouth or palate. With a large tuberosity, the seal may not be formed.

Tuberosity reductions are less common today because dental implants are gaining popularity. Moreover, lesser people are losing their upper teeth and requiring upper dentures. Some people who still have teeth and who are getting implants may still need this procedure though. If a tuberosity is large then it may interfere with the way the teeth and the jaw come together. Tuberosity reductions can fix these problems.

How do you prepare for a tuberosity reduction?

An oral and a maxillofacial surgeon will perform the tuberosity reduction and they have to coordinate with your dentist regarding the dentures. For some people, the sinus cavity will extend into the tuberosity. The surgeon must know where the sinus cavity is located in relation to the tuberosity. You may need x-rays prior to the procedure.

Your dentist or your prosthodontist will make a plastic mould of your jaw so that the oral surgeon will know how much of the bone and how much of the tissue has to be removed. In order to make this mould, your dentist will take an impression of your jaw by making a plaster cast and use it to grind down on the tuberosity areas. The mould will then be made from the cast.

The mould will fit over your gums just like dentures do. During the procedure, your surgeon will test the mould in your mouth and ensure that enough bone and tissue is removed. Most of the time; the bulbous gum tissue covering the tuberosity must be trimmed and removed.

How is a tuberosity reduction done?

Before the procedure, you will receive local anaesthesia and may also receive some sort of intravenous sedation. Your surgeon will then cut and remove the excess gum tissues. In some cases, your surgeon may also trim down some bone underneath it. If a mould has been made then it will be tried on your mouth. When surgeon has removed the excess bone and tissue, the area will be stitched closed. The procedure generally takes less than one hour.

What are the follow-up procedures for tuberosity reduction?

You will receive antibiotics and pain killers after the surgery. Your oral surgeon will inform you how to clean your mouth. This includes how to rinse it properly. Your stitches will be removed within one to two weeks if they are not self-dissolving. There will be swelling in the operated area for a few days so you should not wear your old dentures. You should only wear your old dentures if the dentist made them for use right after the procedure.

Some people will need to wear a temporary denture for a period of one to two weeks straight. This is called an immediate denture and your surgeon will inform you when you can remove it and how long you can remove it. After a quarter of a year, immediate dentures will be relined so that the fit is improved. This is because as time goes on, the tissues will heal and are going to shrink. If you do not have immediate dentures then your dentist or prosthodontist will start making your denture for you to wear after one to two months from the surgery.

What are the risks of tuberosity reduction?

All the types of surgery will have risks of excess bleeding and infections although they are very rare in tubersoity reduction surgery. Since tuberosity and the sinus are close to each other, the surgeon may enter the sinus accidentally during the operation. This happens very rarely and is corrected at the time of the surgery. If you notice blood in your nose after the surgery then there may be a hole in your sinus. You should contact your surgeon if this happens to you. You should also check if air enters your mouth when you breathe through your nose because this is an indication that there may be a hole in your sinus.

You should call your dentist of your surgeon if you experience any of the following after the tuberosity reduction surgery

  • excessive bleeding or swelling for the first twenty four to forty eight hours
  • having symptoms of infection like fevers and chills
  • believing that you have a hole in your sinus
  • believing that your stitches have opened or become loose