The objective of this surgical procedure is to reduce the depth of an existing periodontal pocket to a level that can be kept clean of bacteria with normal brushing and flossing.
What Is A Periodontal Pocket?
Bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around the teeth, but when periodontal disease is present the supporting tissue and bone begin to deterioriate, forming “pockets” around the teeth. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. This creates a space otherwise known as a periodontal pocket. As a periodontal pocket forms they provide a larger are for bacteria to live. Such a deep periodontal pocket collects even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.
When a deep periodontal pocket has been diagnosed, any pocket 5mm or greater is indicated for surgery. Periodontitis is a disease that affects the bone without pain. Bleeding gums may or may not be present while the destruction to the bone is occurring. Surgical access is the only way to obtain the best long term tooth retention in a person with moderate to advanced periodontitis a.k.a Gum Disease.
Periodontal Pocket Elimination Surgery
The objective of this surgical procedure is to reduce the depth of existing pockets to a level that can be kept clean of bacteria with normal brushing and flossing In addition, with reduced pocket depth the periodontal maintenance cleanings can be more effective.
During this periodontal pocket elimination procedure, local anesthesia is given so that the patient will feel nothing. An incision is made in the gums to allow the periodontist to remove the infection that has affected the tooth supporting bone.
The 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.
Flap and Osseous Surgery
In more advanced disease, bacteria and the associated inflammation can lead to changes in the normal shape of the bone around teeth. The normal contour of the bone must be reestablished in order to eliminate the pockets. Gum tissue is gently separated from the bone, making a “flap”. This provides better access to deeper areas of plaque and tartar, and makes it possible to reshape the bone, reducing areas where bacteria can grow. This procedure does not regenerate bone that has previously been lost.
Benefits of Periodontal Pocket Elimination
Reducing periodontal pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence.
Reducing a deep periodontal pocket in a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care decreases the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.