Osseous Surgery – Pocket Depth Reduction

Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal  disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming “pockets” around the teeth.

Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.

Mild Periodontitis

Advanced Periodontitis

Your periodontist has measured the depth of your pocket(s). A pocket reduction procedure has been recommended because you  have pockets that are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine.

During this procedure, your periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence. Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so it’s important for you to reduce them. Reduced pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decrease the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.

2012 copyright. The American Academy of Periodontology

For more information visit www.perio.org

A surgical solution can include:

  • During pocket reduction surgery the gums are lifted back and hardened tartar is removed. Additional smoothing of damaged surfaces may be performed if necessary. After this procedure, your periodontist will replace the gum tissue tightly around the tooth structure as to eliminate any pockets for harmful bacteria to collect and grow.

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