Osseous Surgery

Osseous surgery, sometimes referred to as pocket reduction surgery or gingivectomy, refers to a number of different surgeries aimed at gaining access to the tooth roots to remove tartar and disease-causing bacteria.

Goals of Osseous Surgery

Osseous surgery is used to reshape deformities and remove pockets in the alveolar bone surrounding the teeth. It is a common necessity in effective treatment of more advanced periodontal diseases. Typically, osseous surgery is limited to those areas that have more severe periodontal disease and bone loss and have not responded to nonsurgical scaling & root planing.  The ultimate goal of osseous surgery is to reduce or eliminate the periodontal pockets that cause periodontal disease. The specific goals of surgery include:

  • Reducing Bacterial Spread:
    Bacteria from the mouth can spread throughout the body and cause other life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and respiratory disease. Removing deep tartar and thereby bacteria can help reduce the risk of bacteria spreading.
  • Preventing Bone Loss:
    The immune system’s inflammatory response prompted by periodontal bacteria can lead to bone loss in the jaw region, and cause teeth to fall out. Osseous surgery seeks to stop periodontal disease before it progresses to this level.
  • Facilitating Home Care:
    As the gum pocket deepens, it can become nearly impossible to brush and floss adequately. Osseous surgery reduces pocket size, making it easier to brush and floss, and thereby prevent further periodontal disease.

What does the procedure entail?

A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area prior to surgery. First, Dr. Ridgway will make an incision around each tooth of the affected area to release the gum tissue from the bone. This allows access to the bone and roots of the teeth. The roots have are thoroughly cleaned and then any defects in the bone  that have occurred from the periodontal disease are reshaped.  Bone is removed in some areas to restore the normal rise and fall of the bone, but at a lower level.  If the bone loss is vertical in nature, and the area would benefit from bone grafting; osseous surgery allows access so that bone grafting materials can be placed to fill in large defects.  The gum tissue is then sutured back to place and a surgical dressing (periodontal pack) may be placed.  Pain medication & mouth rinses containing chlorhexidine are generally prescribed.  Several postoperative follow up visits may be necessary to evaluate the healing.  Following periodontal osseous surgery, patients are then placed on a periodontal maintenance program.