Your gums are supposed to fit around your teeth like a turtle neck sweater fits around your neck. Loose-fitting gums cause pockets to form around your teeth. These pockets are not harmless. They allow the bacteria from food and plaque buildup to reside in them.
How Do You Shrink Periodontal Pockets?
People will suggest a lot of home remedies for periodontal pocket reduction. Some say you can tighten them with thorough brushing, flossing, and saltwater rinses. However, all these techniques work to an extent, not for advanced stages.
If your gum pockets have already deepened enough, your periodontist will measure the depth of your pockets and then suggest the right treatment accordingly. They can recommend scaling and root planning for early stages, while they might go for pocket reduction surgery for advanced stages.
Size of Periodontal Pockets
Not all periodontal pockets are instantly harmful. They are measured in millimeters.
- 1 to 3 mm is considered normal.
- 4 to 5 mm represents initial or mild periodontitis.
- 5 to 7 mm upon reaching moderate periodontitis.
- 7 to 12 mm is considered advanced periodontitis.
How Long Does It Take to Reduce Gum Pockets?
A mild periodontal disease can require 2-3 weeks to recover after scaling and root planning. Recovery time from severe periodontal disease depends on factors like proper aftercare. Some patients can complete their recovery in 5-8 weeks. However, recovery durations can be extended if you don’t adhere to the aftercare guidelines.
Surgical Interventions for Shrinking Advanced Gum Pockets
Your periodontist can perform various surgical methods for gum reduction. They can even pair one with another based on your condition.
- Scaling and Root Planning:
This non-surgical treatment is very popular and effective at shrinking small periodontal pockets. It only requires a handheld ultrasonic device or scaler to remove the bacteria from small pockets around your teeth. Once the plaque is removed, the root planning enters the process to help reattach your gums to the teeth.
- Osseous Surgery:
Your gums will be lifted with the help of a tool to expose the tartar and bacteria underneath. So it can be removed. When the bacteria and tartar are scraped off, and bone is smoothed out, your periodontist will roll your gum flap back to fit around your tooth. This leaves no room for the bacteria to develop and breed under your gums.
- Bone Surgery:
This is often paired with flap surgery. Once patients undergo osseous surgery, they suffer from residual craters in the gums that can serve as breeding ground bacteria. These craters are developed because of advanced or medium bone loss.
Symptoms of periodontal pockets are quite similar to other dental or gum conditions. So, they can easily go unnoticed till a professional examination by a dentist or periodontist points it out for you.
No matter how deep gum pockets you struggle with, contact our board-certified periodontist, Dr. Michael K. McGuire, at Perio Health Professionals. Dial (713) 783-5442 to book an appointment.