Osseous Surgery

Osseous surgery, sometimes referred to as pocket reduction surgery, 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. The ultimate goal of osseous surgery is to reduce or eliminate the periodontal pockets that trap the bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Despite the word “surgery” the procedure  feels more like a thorough cleaning.

The specific goals of osseous surgery include:

  • 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.
  • Improved Access for Cleaning:
    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 osseous surgery entail?

A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area prior to surgery, with or without sedation. First, Drs. Morse or Cwiklinski will make incisions around each tooth in the affected area to release the gum tissue from the bone. This allows access to the bone and roots of the teeth. After the roots have been thoroughly cleaned through scaling, a drill and hand tools will be used to reshape the bone around the teeth. Bone is removed in some areas to restore the normal rise and fall of the bone, but at a lower level. Bone grafting may also be necessary to fill in large defects in the bone.

Next, the gums will be placed back over the remaining bone and sutured in place. The site will also be covered with a type of bandage called a periodontal dressing, which is a pink paste that hardens to waxy consistency. Mouth rinses containing chlorhexidine are generally prescribed following the surgery to help keep the area clean in the absence of brushing.

Do not be alarmed if bleeding and swelling occur after the surgery. The amount of swelling can be preventatively lessened by placing an ice pack on the cheek outside of the affected area.  Make sure to do this right after the surgery, before the swelling begins. In cases where the bleeding and swelling is in excess, it is advised that you call to notify our office. Several follow-up visits will be necessary, typically at 2 and 8 weeks.