Periodontal Gum Disease in Birmingham, AL
What Are Periodontal Gum Pockets?
Periodontal pockets are invisible to the naked eye so you won’t be able to see if your gums have them without an exam from Dr. Maddux. To do this, Dr. Maddux measures the space in between your gums and teeth during a periodontal probe. It is a slim instrument inserted in the gap between your teeth and gums, taking a measurement of the depth of the gap in millimeters.
You feel no discomfort during this measurement, and fortunately the reading gives Dr. Maddux an accurate picture of your gum health.
Healthy gums has a slight gap which can easily collect bacteria and food particles. The space is shallow, so brushing and flossing can easily remove debris from the area. However, a toothbrush only reaches so far, about 2mm to 3mm below the gum line and when periodontal pockets are deeper they can collect debris causing inflammation and swelling as the gum infection worsens.
If this space becomes infected, you will hear Dr. Maddux say you have periodontal pockets and without proper treatment, the bacteria can become worse causing more bone loss around your teeth while destroying the ligaments holding your teeth in place.
A periodontal pocket reduction procedure has been recommended because you have pockets that are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine.
During this procedure, Dr. Maddux folds back the gum tissue 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. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.
Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence. Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so it’s important for you to reduce them. Reduced pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decrease the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.
Scaling and Root Planing
More significant cases of periodontal disease may require a treatment called scaling and planing, or an enhanced professional dental cleaning. Dr. Maddux will perform a cleaning not only on your teeth but also any exposed tooth root surfaces, before these surfaces and smooth or planed which makes it more difficult for bacteria to adhere.
Smoothing the surfaces enables the gum tissues to reattach to teeth more easily, and will shrink periodontal pockets as they gradually fit more tightly around the teeth. Topical antibiotics can also be used if the gum pockets are deep and if there is significant bacterial infection.
Your teeth will look longer than before after treatment has controlled the infection if the infection has destroyed some of your gum tissue. Dr. Maddux may recommend more extensive treatments to help rebuild any lost tissues.
Depending on the severity of your case, Dr. Maddux may recommend surgical treatments to help remove damaged tissues so that healthy tissues can aid in healing. Gum and bone grafting is often used to help restore tissues that have been completely destroyed. This can help stabilize teeth and may prevent their loss as well as improving aesthetics.
- Gum grafting
- Gum recontouring
- Osseous surgery
Surgical treatments of Gum Pockets can help new ligament attachment fibers to develop, and gum grafts can repair some of the damage to the gums through building up the gum tissue in areas where it is deficient.