Gum disease is the number one dental problem in adults. It starts when plaque accumulates near and around the gum line. Plaque is a combination of leftover food particles, bacteria, and other substances that irritate the soft tissues, causing inflammation and swelling. The gums then pull away from the tooth and form pockets that become breeding grounds for more bacteria. Eventually, the tooth becomes loose and falls out. The underlying bone can also be damaged.
Early-stage gum disease can be reversed with proper oral hygiene and professional cleaning, but advanced gum disease requires deep cleaning (root scaling and planning), antibiotics, and periodontal or gum surgery. Periodontal surgery is used to remove bacteria and reduce the size of gum pockets. Some gum pockets are too deep to clean properly, and only surgery can remove plaque below the gum line.
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Pocket Reduction SurgeryPocket reduction or flap surgery is the reduction of the size of gum pockets. After cutting the gums open and lifting them up, plaque and tartar are removed. Sometimes the dentist also smooths the bumpy surface of the tooth roots so bacteria cannot hide in the crevices. The gums are then placed snugly around the tooth to eliminate pockets that trap plaque.
Bone SurgeryAfter pocket reduction surgery, the dentist reshapes the tooth roots and the bone to remove shallow indentations where bacteria grow, also known as osteoplasty. An art form that involves resculpting the bone giving it a normal form.
The following bone grafting materials are all backed by science research:
Alloplast: A graft either made completely of synthetics, or produced by xenogenic structures or tissues.
Xenograft: Bone grafting material that comes from an animal (usually a cow).
Allograft: A laboratory-processed human graft bone from a donor that came from a tissue bank.
Autograft: When you take bone from one side of your body and move it to another. The only bone graft type that involves creating two surgery sites with one harvested and the other where it is given