Pocket Reduction Surgery
Pocket reduction surgery is a collective term for a series of several different surgeries aimed at gaining access to the roots of the teeth in order to remove bacteria and tartar (calculus).
The human mouth contains dozens of different bacteria at any given time. The bacteria found in plaque (the sticky substance on teeth) produce acids that lead to demineralization of the tooth surface, and ultimately contribute to periodontal disease.
Periodontal infections cause a chronic inflammatory response in the body that literally destroys bone and gum tissues once they invade the sub-gingival area (below the gum line). Gum pockets form and deepen between the gums and teeth as the tissue continues to be destroyed.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which, if left untreated, causes massive bacteria colonization in gum pockets and can eventually lead to teeth falling out. Pocket reduction surgery is an attempt to alleviate this destructive cycle, and reduce the depth of the bacteria-harboring pockets.
Pocket reduction surgery is a common periodontal procedure which has been proven effective at eliminating bacteria, reducing inflammation and saving teeth. In some cases, bone can be regenerated around the teeth to result in a shallower pocket without having to induce much recession. The goals of pocket reduction surgery are:
Reducing Bacterial Spread – Oral bacteria has been connected to many other serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Oral bacteria can travel to various parts of the body from inside the bloodstream and begin to colonize. It is important to decrease bacteria in the mouth in order to reduce the risk of secondary infection.
Halting Bone Loss – The chronic inflammatory response induced by oral bacteria leads the body to destroy bone tissue. As the jawbone becomes affected by periodontal disease, the teeth lose their rigid anchor. When the teeth become too loose, they may require extraction.
Facilitate Home Care – As the gum pockets become progressively deeper, they become impossible to clean effectively by the patient. The toothbrush and dental floss cannot reach to the bottom of the pockets, increasing the risk of further periodontal infections.