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When you have periodontal disease, the 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. If too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.

During this procedure, your periodontist gently stretches the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before returning the tissue into place. In some cases of this gum surgery, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to have improved attachment to healthy bone.

The benefits of these procedures are reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria, which are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to maintain a healthy smile. Reduced pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care increases your chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decreases the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.

Your periodontist may also recommend a regenerative procedure when the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed. These procedures can reverse some of the damage by regenerating lost bone and tissue.

At the same time of gum surgery, membranes (filters), bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage your body's natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue.

There are many options to enhance support for your teeth and to restore your bone to a healthy level. Your periodontist will discuss the best options with you.

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