New York / New Jersey Periodontist Dr. Eric Linden
When supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, "pockets" form around the teeth.
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you 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. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.
Dr. Linden measures the depth of your pocket(s). If pockets are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine, a pocket reduction procedure will be recommended. In most cases a laser procedure can be done to correct this problem without cutting and sutures. There is no need for bone grafting when using the FDA-cleared laser protocol (LANAP).
On rare occasions, traditional surgery has to be done. During this procedure, Dr. Linden gently folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.
What are the benefits of this procedure?
Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence. Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so it’s important for you 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.