A pedicle flap is a procedure for covering exposed tooth roots in patients who have plenty of keratinized tissue adjacent to the affected tooth, that can serve as a donor site. The procedure simply involves making an incision to "loosen" a piece of keratinized gum tissue, and then sliding or rotating it (without actually severing it from the underlying tissue) to cover the exposed root. Depending on the direction the tissue is moved to reposition it, the procedure may be referred to as a "coronally positioned flap" (the tissue is moved toward the crown of the tooth along its axis), or a "lateral pedicle flap" (the tissue is moved sideways along the dental arch).
Steps are sometimes taken to prepare the root surface for best adhesion of the repositioned tissue. This may involve scaling the root to clean it, treatment with etchants like citric acid, tetracycline, and/or EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), and application of antibiotic gels like chlorhexidine, to prevent infection of the site. Some studies suggest that treatment of the roots in such a way may not increase the likelihood of a successful treatment result, but most dentists and periodontists perform the procedure according to their individual training and success of their results.
Page last updated: 9/15/2011