What Exactly Are Deep Periodontal Pockets?
Any pockets of bacteria that reach over 3 mm below the gum line are "deep" in that ordinary brushing can no longer be relied on to correct the problem. At this point, it will be necessary to get a check-up and treatment from an experienced periodontist.
How do these pockets form? Well, their formation is intricately related to the onset of gum disease itself. First of all, excess sugars and food particles that are left in your oral cavity cling to not only teeth but also to your gums. Bacteria feed on this material and form a "biofilm" over the teeth and gums.
Even if you brush your teeth, but fail to gently brush your gums adjacent to those teeth with a soft-bristled brush (and rinse with an antiseptic mouth wash), this biofilm remains and festers. The teeth-gum borderline and the interdental spaces especially tend to retain harmful bacteria.
Over time, the bacteria emit toxins that eat away at your gum tissue. This process continues and begins to create a separation between the gums and the tooth roots, which grows deeper and deeper if left untreated. Ultimately, this can lead to severe gum infection and tooth loss.
How Does Laser Periodontal Treatment Work?
Periodontal pockets can be treated by root planing and scaling, which involves peeling back the gums with a scalpel, scraping the tooth roots, and (sometimes) using dental sutures to help reattach gum tissue post-op. There are situations where this is the best treatment to use, but more often, laser periodontal treatment is a superior option.
With "laser gum surgery," a specialized "smart" laser is used to get into deep periodontal pockets and clean them out. This laser distinguishes between infected and healthy gum tissue and removes only the infected tissue and its accompanying bacteria colonies.
The process is minimally invasive with a very low pain threshold and very minimal bleeding and/or swelling of the gums as compared to root planing and scaling. The same laser that cleans out the deep pockets also cleans off exposed portions of tooth roots and helps in successful gum-tooth reattachments.
Preventing A Return Of Gum Disease
You cannot afford to ignore swollen, bleeding, and painful gums that are being harmed by deep periodontal pockets. The problem will only get worse if it is ignored.
But once laser periodontal treatment has eliminated bacterial colonies below your gum line and restored your overall gum health, it is important to focus on preventative measures going forward.
Good oral hygiene, giving up smoking and excessive drinking, following a healthy (low-sugar and high-nutrient) diet, and getting regular annual "gum checkups" with your local periodontist will help prevent a reoccurrence of gum disease.
If you are suffering from gum disease and deep periodontal pockets, laser periodontal treatment may be the solution. In Central Florida, contact Dr. Stuart Beauchamp of Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry today for a free consultation on the future of your gums!