Reviewed by Dr. Kerri Font, DDS

Our oral health is often overlooked even though it is integral to our overall well-being. Neglecting proper dental care can lead to severe consequences such as gum disease

In its advanced stages, gum disease can cause periodontal pockets – deep spaces between the teeth and gums where bacteria thrive. If left untreated, these pockets can result in tooth and bone loss.

Fortunately, there is a solution – osseous surgery. This procedure is recommended when gum disease is so severe that it can’t be treated with scaling and root planing alone. 

In this blog post, we will explore the ins and outs of osseous surgery (pocket reduction surgery) – what it is, how it works, and why it is essential for maintaining a healthy smile.

Table of Contents

When is Osseous Surgery Necessary?

In dental terms, the space between your gums and teeth is referred to as a pocket. As gum disease progresses, these pockets deepen, making it increasingly difficult to clean your teeth at home and professionally.

The buildup of plaque on your teeth is the culprit behind gum disease, and as the pockets deepen, more plaque can accumulate, worsening the condition. If left untreated, this progressive gum disease can even result in tooth loss. That’s where pocket reduction surgery, also known as osseous surgery, comes into play.

This procedure effectively removes bacteria from the pockets between your gums and teeth, helping to restore and maintain optimal oral health.

Scaling and Root Planing vs Osseous Surgery

A deep cleaning, commonly known as “scaling and root planing,” goes beyond standard teeth cleaning by thoroughly cleaning the roots of teeth. This procedure is crucial in treating and managing the early stages of gum disease. 

When gum disease progresses to a more severe stage, osseous surgery becomes necessary. It addresses the surface and root of the teeth and the surrounding bone structure, offering a comprehensive solution to more advanced periodontal issues.

Traditional vs. Laser Osseous Surgery

There are two main types of osseous surgery: traditional and laser.

  • Traditional osseous surgery involves making incisions to access the tooth roots. The bone is reshaped to eliminate deep pockets that harbor bacteria. The incisions are closed with stitches. 
  • Laser osseous surgery uses laser energy to target and eliminate bacteria around your teeth while preserving healthy tissue. 

Benefits of Osseous Surgery

Osseous surgery offers several benefits:

  • Reduces harmful oral bacteria
  • Decreases the size of gum pockets
  • Enhances overall oral health
  • Prevents plaque and bacteria reattachment to teeth roots
  • Lowers risks of heart disease and stroke linked to gum disease​​

Like any surgical procedure, it carries risks such as bleeding, infection, teeth sensitivity, tooth root cavities, and gum recession​​.

The Benefits of Laser Osseous Surgery

Laser-assisted osseous surgery, FDA-approved for periodontal regeneration, stands out for its minimally invasive approach. It uses a laser, targeting bacteria that cause gum disease while preserving healthy tissue. This method results in faster healing, reduced post-surgical recession, tooth sensitivity, and more predictable results​​.

Advantages Over Traditional Methods

Laser osseous surgery offers several advantages:

  • Faster healing and minimal recovery time
  • Less discomfort during and after the procedure
  • No need for cuts or sutures
  • Reduced risks of gum recession
  • Effective in reducing gum inflammation and bleeding
  • Preservation of natural teeth, sometimes even those deemed ‘hopeless.’
  • Safe for patients with various health concerns​​​​.

Key Takeaway

Osseous surgery, or pocket reduction surgery, is a highly effective treatment for severe gum disease. It involves traditional or laser-assisted techniques to reduce periodontal pockets and combat gum disease.

Procedure Details

During osseous surgery, your periodontist will perform the following steps:

  1. Administer anesthesia to numb your teeth and gums.
  2. Make an incision along your gum line.
  3. Fold back your gums to expose tooth roots.
  4. Remove dental plaque and bacteria.
  5. Reshape the bone around your teeth to eliminate pockets.
  6. Possibly regenerate bone in areas of loss, including using dental bone grafts.
  7. Reposition your gums and close the incisions with stitches.

Recovery and Aftercare

Recovery from osseous surgery can vary but typically takes two to four weeks.  Common side effects include soreness, swelling, and bruising, which usually subside within a few days​​. 

To recover successfully, follow these tips:

  • Avoid eating until anesthesia wears off to prevent biting your lips, cheek, or tongue.
  • Follow prescribed medication regimens.
  • Manage discomfort with ice packs and keep your head elevated.
  • Follow dietary guidelines.
  • Maintain oral hygiene as indicated in the post-operative instructions.

Essential Tips for Preventing Periodontal Disease

To prevent gum disease and tooth loss, prioritize oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Brush and floss daily: Brush twice a day and floss at least once daily to remove plaque, the main cause of gum disease.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash: An antimicrobial mouthwash can reduce bacteria and plaque activity.
  • Regular dental check-ups: Visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and check-ups. If you have signs of gum disease, your dentist will catch it early and will be able to treat it before it gets worse. 
  • Quit smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for periodontal disease. Quitting smoking can greatly reduce this risk.
  • Eat a balanced diet: A diet rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly antioxidants, supports gum health.
  • Manage health conditions: Conditions like diabetes can increase the risk of gum disease. Proper management of these conditions is essential.

These practices can significantly reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease, ensuring your teeth and gums stay healthy and strong.

Osseous Surgery for Healthy, Happy Gums

Don’t let gum disease take a toll on your oral health and overall well-being. You can combat gum disease and maintain healthy gums with osseous surgery. Whether you opt for traditional or laser-assisted techniques, this procedure offers long-term benefits beyond just treating gum disease symptoms.  

We are committed to providing you with the best treatment tailored to your needs. If you are looking for a periodontist in Highlands Ranch or a ‘periodontist near me’, call (303) 683-1144 or complete the online booking form. 

Categories: Periodontics