Pocket Reduction Surgery
Gingivectomy, flap surgery or osseous surgery fall into the category of pocket reduction surgeries that are aimed at allowing access to the tooth root area so that removing tartar and bacteria is possible.
The mouth of the average human contains many different kinds of bacteria at any moment. This bacteria forms sticky plaque on teeth that makes acid. This acid, in turn, can demineralize the surface of the teeth and lead to gum disease if not treated.
Gum infections also lead to inflammation in the body that very literally destroys gums as well as bone tissue when it invades the area below the gum line. Pockets between teeth and gums form, then deepen. Teeth and tissue continues to be destroyed.
Gum disease is progressive, and if it isn’t treated it can cause huge colonies of bacteria in gum pockets that can result in teeth falling out. Surgeries to reduce gum pockets are an attempt to break this cycle of destruction, reduce the pocket depths and eliminate much of the bacteria.
Reasons To Have Pocket Reduction Surgery
A common periodontal procedure, pocket reduction surgery is a proven way to get rid of bacteria, reduce inflammation and save teeth from further damage. Pocket reduction surgery is intended to:
- Reduce spread of bacteria: Bacteria from the mouth can spread and has been linked to stroke, heart disease and diabetes. When oral bacteria travels elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream, it can colonize in other locations. Decreasing bacteria in the mouth reduces the secondary infection risk.
- Stop bone loss: Bone is destroyed over time by the chronic inflammatory response to oral bacteria. As the jawbone is impacted by periodontal disease, teeth are no longer well connected to this strong anchor. Teeth that get loose may have to be extracted.
- Make home care easier. As oral pockets get deeper, they can be nearly impossible to clean at home. Dental floss and a toothbrush cannot get to the bottom of the pockets, and this lack of cleanliness further increases the risk of periodontal infections.
- Enhance your smile. An unhealthy, diseased oral cavity doesn’t look good. Your smile can be significantly impacted by rotting teeth, brown gums and ridge indentations. Pocket reduction surgery stops gum disease progression and makes your smile look better.
What Is Involved In Pocket Reduction Surgery?
Before deciding on or suggesting a treatment, the dentist will take x-rays and do a careful visual examination, taking note of the condition of gums, teeth and bone. If pocket reduction surgery is possible, the procedure can be done during general or local anesthesia, depending on what you and the periodontist decide.
The gums are gently pulled back during the surgery and bacteria and tartar are removed. Root planing and scaling are usually required to get rid of ossification of tartar from the tooth root surface. If the root is not left completely smooth by this scaling, a planing is done to make sure the gums can heal properly and reattach since they will not attach to uneven or rough surfaces.
To complete the surgical procedure, an antimicrobial liquid is applied to get rid of remaining bacteria and start the healing process. The gums are secured with tiny stitches that are left in place for 5 to 10 days.
While the gums will be more sensitive right after the procedure, it can result in a significant reduction of pocket depth and a great improvement in the overall health of teeth and gums.
**Note: Dr. Vinograd has developed an ozone protocol that can in some cases reverse gum disease without surgery
If you think you may need pocket reduction treatment, or would like to explore the ozone therapy alternative, call (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr. Daniel Vinograd
or Dr. Paige Woods.