Your bone and gum tissue should fit tight around our teeth. When we 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, and because of that these can do more damage to the bone and gums that anchor the roots. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.
Here at LPID, our periodontist will measure the depth of your pocket(s). A periodontal surgery to reduce de pockets will be recommended only if after trying to reduce the pockets with non surgical periodontal treatment, also known as scaling and root planning, root surface debridement or deep cleanings, don´t manage to reduce the pocketing in full. The reason a periodontal surgery is recommended in this case is because lingering pockets cannot predictably be maintained by the hygienist or with home care techniques.
When we decide to do a periodontal surgery on a particular area of your mouth (a few teeth with severe bone loss and lingering pockets that resist to reduce despite previous courses of non surgical treatment), our periodontist will gently fold back the gum tissue to reach access and remove the disease-causing bacteria. Tidying up de damaged bone, before securing the tissue into place is also important, and this can be done by, either smoothing it down or regenerating it, depending on the case. The goal is to reduce the size of your pockets in order to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.
Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria is important to prevent future damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence however, and other factors such as smoking, good home care, controlled diabetes, etc, might also play a role. It is important that each case is assessed on an individual basis, so we can try and control specific risk factors to the case.
Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so it’s important 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.