The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the form of a sticky plaque that forms on your teeth. However, many factors are a risk factor in periodontal disease or influence its progression. 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 accumulate in the form of calculus (or tartar) and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, too much bone is lost, and the teeth need to be extracted.
Periodontal (or Osseous) surgery is usually recommended when the pockets are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine. During this procedure, Dr. Cullen gently lifts the gum tissue out of the way and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide and accumulate. When the procedure is completed, “dissolving” sutures are used. You will need to be seen by our office to evaluate your healing and provide you with home care instructions.
Reducing pockets and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to maintain a healthy smile. A combination of daily oral hygiene and professional periodontal maintenance care (with your Family Dentist and your Periodontist) increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth—and decrease your chances of developing serious general health problems associated with periodontal disease.