Periodontal disease often causes the formation of “pockets”, areas where inflammation causes the gums to detach from the tooth allowing bacteria to gain access. Once bacteria gain entrance to these pockets, they can cause destruction of the underlying bone and this process will continue until the pocket and bacteria are eliminated. The goal of treatment is to do just that, remove or at least decrease the depth of these pockets, creating an environment that can be easily cleansed, preventing the pockets from re-forming.
Two different procedures are generally used to reduce pockets. The first is a non-surgical treatment also called a “deep cleaning”. The second, “pocket reduction”, is a surgical procedure indicated in moderate to severe cases that cannot be treated adequately with deep cleaning alone. Pocket reduction surgery involves cutting away a small portion of the gum tissue and gaining access to the underlying bone, which may require smoothing in areas where bacteria caused bone destruction. A drawback to the procedure is that the teeth will appear slightly longer, but this is a necessary evil when trying to reduce the pockets and restore the gums to a state of health.