Osseous Surgery

Osseous surgery, sometimes referred to as pocket depth reduction surgery, refers to a surgery aimed at gaining access to the tooth roots to remove tartar and disease-causing bacteria.

Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck.  When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming “pockets” around the teeth. 

Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live.  As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue.  These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss.  Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.

The specific goals of surgery include:

  • Reducing Bacterial Spread:
    Bacteria from the mouth can spread throughout the body and cause other life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and respiratory disease. Removing deep tartar and thereby bacteria can help reduce the risk of bacteria spreading.
  • Preventing Bone Loss:
    The immune system’s inflammatory response prompted by periodontal bacteria can lead to bone loss in the jaw region, and cause teeth to fall out. Osseous surgery seeks to stop periodontal disease before it progresses to this level.
  • Enhancing the Smile:
    Mouths plagued with periodontal disease are often unsightly. Brown gums, rotting teeth, and ridge indentations can leave a person feeling depressed and too self-conscious to smile. Fortunately, osseous surgery can help reduce bacteria and disease and thereby restore your mouth to its former radiance, while restoring confidence at the same time.
  • Facilitating Home Care:
    As the gum pocket deepens, it can become nearly impossible to brush and floss adequately. Osseous surgery reduces pocket size, making it easier to brush and floss, and thereby prevent further periodontal disease.

What does the procedure entail?

A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area prior to surgery. First, your periodontist will fold back gum tissue around each tooth of the affected area to release the gum tissue from the bone. This allows access to the bone and roots of the teeth. After the roots have been thoroughly cleaned through scaling, she will reshape the bone around the teeth. Bone is smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria hides. Bone grafting may also be necessary to fill in large defects (see Guided Tissue Regeneration).

Next, the gums will be placed back over the remaining bone and suture them in place. The site will also be covered with a bandage (periodontal pack) or dressing. 

Do not be alarmed if bleeding and swelling occur after the surgery. This can be controlled easily by placing a cold pack, which is provided, on the outside of the affected area. In cases where the bleeding and swelling is in excess, it is advised that you call to notify our office.