Pocket Depth Reduction Therapy

In periodontal disease, swollen unhealthy gums start to pull away from the teeth because of pockets where infection-causing plaque & tartar accumulate. Pocket depth reduction surgery clears infected tissue, bacteria & tartar from these pockets & adjusts the gum so that the size of the pocket is reduced, helping avoid further infection in the future.

Pocket depth is usually measured as an indicator of how severe gum disease is. If you have gum disease that’s too advanced to be treated with scaling & root planing, your dentist may recommend pocket depth reduction surgery.

While pocket depth reduction surgery cannot cure periodontal disease, it can slow or stop its procession. The purpose of this procedure is to both remove infected tissue & prevent subsequent accumulation of infection-causing bacteria & tartar.

What Is Pocket Depth Reduction?

Pocket depth reduction, also called flap surgery, is a procedure that helps prevent the accumulation of bacteria & tartar under gum tissue. After the infected tissue, bacteria & tartar are cleared away, the gum is adjusted to reduce the space (the pocket) between infected gum tissue & teeth. Minimizing this pocket helps keep more bacteria & tartar from collecting & infecting gum tissue in the future.

Procedure Overview

  • First, the gum is lifted & rolled back, creating a gum flap, which allows bacteria & tartar to be removed from areas of the tooth & root normally covered by gum tissue. Sometimes, the bone is reshaped & smoothed in order to reduce irregular areas where bacteria is more likely to grow.
  • The area is sealed off & the gum flap is sewn shut so that the pocket depth is reduced. A putty-like dressing may be used to protect the area. This dressing is removed later at a follow-up appointment.
  • Once the dressing is removed, the stitches dissolve or are removed & the gum heals, the pocket between the gum & teeth will be smaller. The gumline will also have receded, meaning that more of the tooth will be visible, so it’s important to keep up with brushing & flossing, as well as cleans, in order to keep the tissue healthy.

Aftercare

After surgery, your gums may be tender. You’ll need to eat soft foods for a week or two & avoid picking at any stitches. Once your dentist removes the stitches, you’ll be able to return to your regular diet.

Although pocket depth reduction surgery can help slow or even stop gum recession & infection, the gums are still vulnerable to infection & recession, so it’s very important to keep up with oral hygiene habits. Regular visits to your dentist in addition to daily brushing & flossing will help keep your gums healthy!

 

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At Pacific Dental, Dr Ruchi & her team are dedicated to saving teeth & preventing dental problems before they arise. We keep your gums healthy for a beautiful, long-lasting smile!