Pocket Reduction Therapy
At Mark C. Waring, DDS, we believe that everyone deserves a smile that they can be proud of, we also understand how hard it can be to maintain the health of your smile. For this reason, we have dedicated ourselves to helping all of our patients reach and maintain a high level of oral health. A very common oral health pitfall is gum disease. Lot’s of people have gum disease and don’t even know it, but if it’s left unchecked, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even bone loss in the jaw. When gum disease progresses to a certain point, you might develop gingival or periodontal pockets. When you develop these deep pockets between your teeth and gums, they must be cleaned and treated to restore health to your mouth. This is where pocket reduction comes in.
To understand what pocket reduction is, and how it can help you, you should understand some basics about gum disease, how it affects your mouth, and how it progresses.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a common oral malady that starts small and progresses into a very serious issue that can affect your overall health. Think of gum disease the same way you think about cavities; it’s an infection of the tissue caused by plaque and tartar. The reason we tell you to brush and floss so much is that the bacteria that live in your mouth tend to accumulate on the surfaces of your teeth and gums. As plaque accumulates, it feeds off of the sugars and acids that are left over from the foods you eat. It also can eat into those tissues that it builds upon.
Gum disease becomes an issue when plaque begins building up below the gum line, on the roots of the teeth. It’s a hard problem to deal with because you can’t brush below your gums, and you probably won’t even realize that you have it. Gum disease is not known to cause discomfort or pain, especially at the beginning stages.
What is Pocket Reduction?
As plaque builds up below the gumline, a pocket will begin to form between the root of the tooth and the gum. Normally there is no space at all between the tooth root and the gum, so in a healthy state, the gum is flush with the base of the tooth. As plaque accumulates on the root of the tooth the pocket grows larger. As the pocket grows more food particles and plaque can wedge into the gap created by the plaque. All of this foreign material will inflame and infect the gums. Pocket reduction aims to reduce these pockets in your gums to close the gap between your gums and teeth.
Do You Have Gum Disease?
As mentioned above, it can be hard to know whether you have gum disease or not, mainly because pain and discomfort are not typical symptoms of the disease. Some of the most common warning signs that you are developing gum disease are:
||Red or swollen gums
||Gums that bleed easily
||A change in the way your dentures or partial dentures fit
||Persistent bad breath
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should call us at (480) 820-4342 to schedule an appointment.
The Stages of Gums Disease
Gum disease has two stages – gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is early stage gum disease and is a reversible malady. If we find that you have gingivitis we can help you to fight the disease and, in most cases, we can bring your oral health back to a sustainably healthy level.
The late stage of gum disease, periodontitis, is not something that can be cured, but rather something that must be treated. Because we can’t cure periodontitis, it’s best to avoid it altogether. What is the best way to avoid periodontitis? Stay on top of your oral hygiene habits, which means brushing and flossing at least every single day. Also, don’t forget to visit us at least once every six months for an oral examination and cleaning.
What is Scaling?
Scaling is the first part of the two-part pocket reduction treatment. The pockets of plaque that develop between your teeth and gums must be removed, and we do this using a dental scaling tool, we will also use ultrasonic scalers. Scaling tools are simply dental picks that are used to gently scrape matter off of the surface of your teeth. Ultrasonic scalers are a high-tech solution that utilizes ultrasonic vibrations to break up and wash away.
The goal of scaling the roots of your teeth is to remove all of the bacterial residue and food particles from the pockets that have developed between your teeth and gums. Once the scaling has been completed, we can begin the second part of your pocket reduction treatment - root planing.
What is Root Planing
Root planing is a finishing step that we take to smooth out the surface of the roots of your teeth. After removing lots of plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth, the surface of the roots is rough and can irritate the gums. By planing the surface of the roots, we make it easier for the healing process to begin. Planing also serves the same purpose as polishing the crowns of your teeth, making it harder for plaque and calculus to gain purchase on the surface of your teeth.
If you suffer from advanced periodontitis and have experienced bone loss, or severe gum tissue loss, we may need to perform periodontal surgery. Periodontal surgery is unique to every patient that has it because no two cases are alike. Usually, it consists of removing infected gum or bone tissue and placing a graft to encourage the healthy recovery of the removed/lost tissues.
Please call us today at (480) 820-4342 to schedule your appointment. We look forward to seeing your smile!