Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this snug fit is loosened by infectious bacteria, forming “pockets” around the teeth.
Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live and hide. As these harmful bacterial colonies grow under the gumline, they release toxins, resulting in further bone and tissue loss around the teeth. The unfortunate consequence of this bone loss is the eventual loss of the teeth.
Generally, pocket reduction surgery is recommended to reduce pockets that are too deep to clean with daily, at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine. During a pocket reduction surgery procedure, the gum tissue is gently moved away from your teeth exposing the disease-causing bacteria, which can then be effectively are removed and cleaned. 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. The gum tissue is then secured back with small micro-sutures.
What are the benefits of pocket reduction surgery?
Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to 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 to reduce them. Reduced pockets, along with a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care, increases your chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decreases the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.