The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the form of a sticky,
colorless plaque that constantly forms on your teeth. However,
many factors can cause 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
can accumulate 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 teeth need to be
When the depth of pocket(s) are too deep you will be unable to
keep them clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a provessional
To measure this pocketing, the periodontist folds back the gum
tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing
the tissues into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the
damanged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing
bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach
to healthy bone.
What are the benefits of this procedure?
Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important
to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease
and to maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may
not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrance.
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 your chances of serious health problems associated
with periodontal disease.
©1999 The American Academy of Periodontology