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Pocket Reduction Surgery
Plaistow, NH

You might have heard of pocket reduction surgery. Often referred to in dentistry as osseous surgery, this procedure is done to treat gum disease and prevent its progression.

In simple terms, pocket reduction surgery helps tackle the spaces that form between your teeth and gums due to gum disease.

Gum Disease & Its Effects on Your Oral Health

Gum disease, medically known as periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth.

  • Causes: Bacteria in plaque, poor oral hygiene, smoking, and even genetics.
  • Symptoms: Red and swollen gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, and persistent bad breath.
  • Stages: Gingivitis (early stage) to advanced periodontitis (severe stage).

Untreated gum disease can damage the bone and tissues that hold your teeth in place. This damage can lead to gum recession or tooth loss.

Surprisingly, gum disease isn’t limited to just your oral health. Studies have shown that it can also amplify the risk of heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.

What Are Pockets and How Do They Form?

In dental terms, pockets refer to the spaces that crop up between your teeth and gums, especially when gum disease is at play.
As gum disease progresses, these pockets deepen. Why? Because the bacteria and plaque that regular brushing and flossing can’t reach start accumulating there.

Deepening pockets can lead to:

  • Inflammation
  • Infections
  • Bleeding gums
  • Foul breath
  • Discomfort and pain in gums

How is Pocket Reduction Surgery Performed?

The steps for this procedure are methodical and precise to ensure effective treatment.

  • Numbing: Anesthesia is given to numb your teeth and gums, ensuring a painless procedure.
  • Incision: A precise cut is made along the gum line, which allows the dentist to fold back the gums and reveal the root of the teeth.
  • Cleaning: Plaque and bacteria adhering to the roots are meticulously cleaned.
  • Bone Reshaping: The bone surrounding the teeth may be reshaped or smoothed to remove pockets or areas affected by the disease.
  • Bone Regeneration: In cases of bone loss, bone grafts or membranes might be used to stimulate bone regrowth.
  • Closing Up: The gums are sutured back into their position, and a dressing might be applied to minimize bleeding.

There’s more than one way to perform pocket reduction surgery. Traditional osseous surgery is one approach. However, the newer laser osseous surgery method is gaining traction.

While traditional methods involve cutting and suturing, the laser technique is less invasive and might offer quicker recovery. However, the best approach often depends on the specific condition of the patient and the dentist’s expertise.

Benefits of Pocket Reduction Surgery

The advantages of pocket reduction surgery are substantial, often outweighing initial concerns. This procedure, though it might appear intimidating, offers significant benefits. It leads to improved dental cleanliness as the reduction in pocket depth simplifies the cleaning process, making it more effective and less of a chore.

Secondly, the surgery’s ability to effectively eliminate harmful bacteria and infections halts their potential spread, contributing to a healthier oral environment.

The aesthetic and health aspects of gums and teeth receive a substantial boost, resulting in the restoration of a rejuvenated smile.

Moreover, the surgery’s preventive potential stands out as it addresses gum disease, pivotal in preventing further tooth and bone loss.

Beyond its specific dental advantages, pocket reduction surgery positively impacts oral hygiene and health, showcasing its comprehensive benefits.

Risks and Complications of Pocket Reduction Surgery

While the benefits are numerous, it’s vital to be aware of potential risks and complications:

  • Gum Concerns: Post-surgery, there could be bleeding, swelling, pain, or even infections in the gums.
  • Tooth Sensitivity: Exposed roots or stitches might lead to discomfort or heightened sensitivity.
  • Gum Recession: There might be gum shrinkage due to bone reshaping or tissue loss.
  • Tooth Mobility: Bone loss or trauma during the procedure could lead to tooth looseness.
  • Procedure Failure: If aftercare isn’t meticulous, there’s a possibility of the procedure failing or recurrence of gum disease.

How to Prepare for Pocket Reduction Surgery?

Preparing for the procedure can significantly streamline the journey:

Initiate with a Consultation: It’s crucial to have a thorough discussion with your periodontist. Share your medical history, ongoing medications, allergies, and your desired outcomes to ensure a tailored approach.

Bid Adieu to Certain Habits: Refrain from smoking and abstain from alcohol consumption for at least 24 hours prior to the surgery. These habits can impede the healing process.

Fuel Up: A substantial meal before the surgery is essential, as post-surgery discomfort might limit your food choices. Adequate sustenance supports your recovery.

Arrange Transportation: Opting for sedation dentistry? Arrange for someone to drive you home post-procedure.

Taking these preparatory steps can contribute to a smoother experience overall.

Recovery from Pocket Reduction Surgery

The recovery phase holds equal significance to the surgery itself:

Prioritize Aftercare: Diligently follow your periodontist’s post-operative instructions to care for your gums, teeth, stitches, and dressing.

Medication Adherence: If painkillers or antibiotics are prescribed, take them as directed. They mitigate discomfort and reduce the risk of infections.

Tackle Swelling: Employ cold compresses or ice packs to manage swelling or potential bruising.

Mindful Diet: Opt for soft foods to prevent irritation to the gums or disruption of stitches. Avoid hot, spicy, crunchy, or sticky foods.

Oral Hygiene: Clean mouth with warm salt water or the recommended mouthwash.

Brushing Caution: Give the treated area a respite—refrain from brushing or flossing it until complete healing.

Scheduled Follow-ups: Attending follow-up appointments is crucial for monitoring healing progress and stitch removal.

Remember, as with any procedure, the key to maximizing benefits and minimizing risks lies in thorough preparation and diligent aftercare.

How Much Does Pocket Reduction Surgery Cost?

The cost of pocket reduction surgery can vary widely due to several factors:

  • Procedure Extent: The more extensive the procedure, the higher the cost.
  • Anesthesia Type: Choices between local anesthesia, sedation dentistry, or general anesthesia can impact the price.
  • Clinic Location: A clinic in a metropolitan area might charge more than one in a suburban locale.
  • Insurance Coverage: Depending on the patient’s insurance plan, a significant portion of the surgery might be covered, or they might bear a larger out-of-pocket expense.

In the US, the cost of pocket reduction surgery typically ranges from $500 to $3,000 per quadrant, but it’s wise to note this can vary based on the factors above.

Alternatives to Pocket Reduction Surgery

While pocket reduction is effective, there are alternatives to consider:

Scaling and Root Planing: This deep cleaning method removes tartar from below the gumline.

Advantages: Non-surgical and can be effective in early stages.
Disadvantages: It may not be sufficient for advanced cases.

Check out our dedicated Scaling and Root planning page for more information.

Antibiotic Therapy: Direct antibiotic application to gum pockets.

Advantages: Non-invasive and targets specific bacterial strains.
Disadvantages: It might provide a short-term solution.

Flap Surgery: Similar to pocket reduction but involves more gum lifting.

Advantages: Effective for deeper pockets.
Disadvantages: More invasive with a longer recovery period.

Pinhole Surgical Technique: A minimally invasive option that adjusts gum position without incisions.

Advantages: Less discomfort and faster healing.
Disadvantages: Not suitable for severe gum disease cases.

Preventing Gum Disease and Pocket Formation

The old adage rings true: prevention is better than cure.

  • Oral Hygiene: Brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
  • Mouthwash: Use an antiseptic variant to combat bacteria.
  • Regular Dental Visits: A bi-annual check-up is non-negotiable.
  • Tobacco: Avoid at all costs.
  • Dietary Choices: Minimize alcohol, sugary drinks, and acidic foods; instead, focus on a balanced diet.

For a deeper dive, we have a dedicated page about gum disease that can offer more insight.

Pocket Reduction Surgery at Plaistow Dental

Understanding pocket reduction surgery’s intricacies in the oral health journey is climactic. Its benefits are undeniable, from improving oral health to halting the progression of gum disease.

Always prioritize informed decisions whether you’re considering the surgery or exploring alternatives. At Plaistow Dental Clinic, with over 30 years of experience, we’re here to guide you.

Have questions? Ready for a consultation? Reach out.

Take a step towards a healthier smile. Schedule an appointment online with Plaistow Dental Clinic today or call us at (603) 382-7100.