What is Pocket Reduction Surgery?

Pocket reduction surgery is a procedure performed by dentists or periodontists to eliminate gaps or “pockets” that form between teeth and gums due to underlying periodontal inflammation. 

Why do the Gum Pockets Form?

Poor oral hygiene causes plaque. Plaque, which is made up of food debris and harmful bacteria, will harden over time and become tartar. Tartar buildup and bacteria cause ongoing gum inflammation leading to periodontitis which causes gum pockets to form.  

The bacteria inside the tartar and plaque utilize the sugars from the food particles and in turn, release harmful toxins that destroy the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. When this happens, the gums start to detach from the teeth, and gaps, also called the “pockets”, begin to form between the gums and the teeth. 

At this stage, your dentist will perform a pocket reduction procedure by removing the plaque and tartar deposits – to promote reattachment of the gums to the teeth, and to prevent tooth loss.

What Happens During a Pocket Reduction Procedure?

During a pocket reduction procedure, your dentist will fold back your gums to expose the underlying tooth root. He or she will then use specialized equipment to remove the plaque and tartar deposits.

Afterward, your dentist will irrigate the area with water or an antibacterial agent to kill the harmful bacteria and prevent future re-infection. Once the cleaning procedure is complete, your dentist or periodontist will polish to minimize the chances of adherence of plaque and tartar deposits in the future – and to promote the reattachment of the gums to the teeth. Once the procedure is complete, your dentist will suture your gums back to their optimal position. In some cases, dentists also place antibacterial agents inside the pockets to accelerate the healing process. 

Despite strict oral hygiene measures, gum pockets can still form. That is why experts recommend that you should visit your dentists regularly for check-ups so that periodontal problems can be diagnosed at an earlier stage before they cause permanent damage.