With proper surgical treatment and maintenance care, the chances of tooth loss, further damage to the bone and soft tissues supporting the teeth, and complications from health problems that are linked to periodontal disease can be decreased.
Gum disease is typically the result of inadequate or ineffective oral hygiene practices that lead to the accumulation of dental plaque, which is sticky film that is colonized by oral bacteria. The harmful bacteria and the products they produce provoke a defensive, inflammatory response in the gums. When this inflammation is not resolved, tissue damage ensues and spaces between the gums and teeth that are known as periodontal pockets develop. As the periodontal pockets deepen, the bacteria become more difficult to remove and the gaps between the surface of the teeth and gums get larger. When pocket depth increases to the point of being beyond the reach of deep cleanings and other conservative methods of care (5mm or more), gum surgery to clean and treat the damage to gums and underlying bone is recommended.
By performing pocket reduction surgery the following is accomplished:
- Sub-gingival bacteria beneath the gums and from the surfaces of the roots of the teeth is removed
- Damage to the underlying bone is halted and affected bone is re-contoured
- Effective oral hygiene to clean the teeth and gums is made easier
While a surgical procedure known as flap surgery during which the tissue is surgically reflected away from the teeth and bone so that the area can be treated before the tissue is sutured back into place, is typically performed, some practitioners are now using soft tissue laser procedures to reduce pocket depth.