Plaque and tartar accumulations house oral bacteria, which secrete toxins that inflame and damage the gums. Inflammation of gums results in pockets or gaps formation between the teeth and the gums. These pockets become the breeding grounds for bacteria which cause gum diseases. Gum pocket reduction surgery is performed to treat these periodontal pockets. Gum pocket reduction surgery is also known as gingivectomy, osseus surgery or flap surgery. It is a series of several procedures that aim at treating deep periodontal pockets to remove plaque, bacteria, and tartar deposits.
What are the benefits of gum pocket reduction?
- Bacteria related to gum diseases are often associated with serious ailments like diabetes, heart diseases, lung infections, and stroke. The bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel to various parts of the body and start infecting them. Gum pocket reduction eliminates the bacteria and the risk of consequent infections.
- The oral bacteria release toxins that inflame the gums and damage bone tissues. The teeth and gums start detaching from each other, and the teeth become loose. Loose teeth often require extraction. Gum pocket reduction enables the gums to firmly attach to the teeth and helps in preserving your natural teeth.
- Gum pocket reduction facilitates home care by cleaning deeper pockets and eliminating plaque and bacteria from above and below the gumline. Deep cleaning is not possible with regular brushing and flossing.
- Gum pocket reduction strengthens and stabilizes recessed gums by transplanting gum grafts to the recessed area. Gum recession leaves the tooth roots exposed. Gum grafts cover the exposed tooth roots and protect them from decay, infections, sensitivity, and abrasion.
- Gum pockets and periodontal diseases cause brown gums, rotting teeth, foul breath, and ridge indentations. Gum pocket reduction treats periodontal diseases and improves the aesthetic nature of the smile by improving its cosmetic appeal.
How are gum pockets diagnosed?
If you witness any of the following symptoms, you might be suffering from periodontal disease and may require a gum pocket reduction surgery.
- Change in the appearance of the gums. You are likely to experience red, swollen, tender and bleeding gums.
- Persistent foul breath and a foul taste in the mouth.
- Spaces between teeth.
- Presence of abscess pockets and fistula.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages.
- Facial swelling that extends to the neck.
Your dentist will use a periodontal probe to measure pocket depth around each tooth. The periodontal probe allows the dentist to determine the presence of periodontal disease and its progression. Generally, six readings are recorded from the top of the gum tissue to the bottom of the gum pocket. A reading of 4mm or more indicates the beginning of bone and gum recession, while 6mm deep pockets or more indicate the presence of severe periodontal disease.
How are gum pockets treated?
The first step in treating periodontal pockets is to undergo deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing are performed after a thorough X-ray examination. Your dentist will determine the depth of plaque and tartar deposits to devise a treatment plan. Scaling and root planing are carried out under the effect of local anesthesia.
Scaling is performed to remove plaque and tartar deposits from above and below the gumline. Your dentist identifies the areas of plaque and tartar deposits through touch and uses a dental scaler and a curette to manually eliminate them.
Ultrasonic scaling instruments can also be used to perform scaling. The instrument has a vibrating tip and a water spray. The vibrating tip identifies areas of plaque deposits and chips them off, while the water spray cleans abscess and plaque pockets below the gumline. An antimicrobial is used to irrigate the gums to remove bacteria.
Your dentist divides the mouth into halves or four quadrants. Each portion of the mouth is addressed separately. Thus, scaling may require multiple visits to the dentist's office.
Root planing is performed after dental scaling. Root planing accesses the deeper regions and addresses the tooth's roots. It smooths the rough root surfaces for the gums to reattach themselves. Smooth roots prevent plaque, tartar, and bacteria from re-adhering below the gumline and allow your gums to heal and reattach themselves more securely.
After scaling and root planing, the gums are given an antibiotic treatment to accelerate healing and soothe irritation.
However, in the case of deep periodontal pockets, flap surgery is performed. Flap surgery involves cutting a flap in the gums to clean the deep periodontal pockets and repair the receding gum tissues and bone. The flap is then stitched back in place.
In the case of extreme bone and gum tissue loss, regenerative techniques like gum grafting and bone grafting are used. Gum grafting is a surgical procedure performed to treat gum recession caused due to periodontal diseases, vigorous brushing, genetics or poor oral care. It involves the transplant of healthy tissue to the recessed area thereby improving the strength and length of your gums. Bone grafts help in fixing bone loss by transplanting bone tissue from a donor area to the bone deficient area. Bone grafts provide a framework that is easily accepted by the body and new bone starts to form around it.
We, at Bliss Dentistry of Campbell, California, cater to all your needs pertaining to dental services and routine exams. Our Campbell dentists with their entire team persevere to provide you with exceptional treatment that enhances and maintains the beauty of your smile. If you have any further question, queries or dental emergencies and are looking for an experienced dentist in the South Bay Area, feel free to contact us at (408) 963-6678 to schedule an appointment.