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Osseous (Bone) Surgery

There should be less than a 2- to 3-millimeter (mm) gap (pocket) between your gums and teeth.  When the gap is deeper than 5mm, then that area becomes much more difficult to clean by yourself of even by a dental professional.  And this is often caused by periodontal (gum) disease.

As your pocket gets deeper, your become more vulnerable to bacteria wearing away your gums and bone.  And the longer the gum disease is left untreated, the more at-risk you will be to losing your teeth.

What is osseous surgery?

Osseous surgery (also called pocket reduction surgery) is a standard procedure that removes the bacteria that resides in pockets.  During the surgical procedure, a periodontist cuts back your gums, removes the bacteria, and repairs bone damage.

The primary aim of osseous surgery is to reduce and repair pockets caused by gum disease.  Mild gum disease that hasn’t spread to your jawbone or connective tissue is called gingivitis.  Untreated gingivtis eventually leads to periodontitis, which can damage the teeth-supporting jawbone.

What’s the process of osseous surgery?

A periodontist usually requires 2 hours to complete an osseus surgery.  Here’s what you may expect during this procedure:

  1. A local anesthetic is applied to numb your gums.
  2. The periodontist will make a small incision along your gumline, and then will fold back your gums to remove the bacteria under your gums.
  3. The periodontist will repair and smooth any damaged or misshaped bone.
  4. If your bone is severely damaged, then a periodontal regeneration treatment may be used.  This includes the use of bone grafts and guided tissue regenerative membranes.
  5. Your gums will be sutured and covered with a periodontal dressing if necessary.

Recovery from osseous surgery

Most patients recover within a few days of osseous surgery.  Your periodontist may give you specific dietary recommendations.

Here are some ways to help you recover from osseous surgery:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid spitting
  • Avoid drinking with straws until you’re fully healed
  • Stick to soft foods for the first few days
  • Avoid physical activity for a few days after surgery
  • Replace your gauze regularly
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water after 24 hours
  • Use an ice pack to manage swelling.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.