3 Potential Treatments For Periodontal Pockets

Gum disease happens when harmful bacteria in the mouth, which is meant to be eradicated through oral hygiene, is able to take hold and create an infection. Gingivitis is the most mild and common form of periodontal disease and is easily cured with a thorough cleaning by dentists like Barry Groder DDS. But if the disease progresses to periodontitis, your gums can become so infected that the tissue begins to pull away from the bottom of the teeth. This creates periodontal pockets.

Periodontal pockets can continue to worsen and widen, causing cosmetic and comfort concerns. The pockets also serve as an excellent new breeding ground for bacteria, which can further worsen the periodontal disease and make it harder to treat.

There are a few potential treatments for periodontal pockets. The treatments are often combined with the number of treatments required depending on the severity of the pockets.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing are advanced dental cleaning techniques that can help treat periodontal pockets. Handheld and ultrasonic dental tools are used to clean bacteria buildup off the surface of the teeth and gums and within the periodontal pockets.

Why is scaling and root planing more effective than a general dental cleaning? The ultrasonic tools are better able to get both inside the pockets and underneath the bases of the teeth where the teeth meet the gums. So more bacteria is removed from hard-to-reach areas.

If the periodontal pockets are minor, the cleaned out periodontal pockets might heal back to the tooth on their own now that the bacteria isn't inflaming the tissue. But large pockets likely won't shift all the way back into position.


Large periodontal pockets will need to be stitched back into place via a gingivoplasty. Your dentist will cut the pockets, remove any excess tissue, then pull the tissue tight to the base of the teeth.

The tissue is then shaped to best fit the tooth before the tissue is stitched into place. Stitches will fall out on their own and the gum tissue will remain close to the tooth. Follow all of your dentist's hygiene instructions carefully so that a new periodontal infection doesn't take hold while you wait for the gums to heal after the gingivoplasty.

Tissue Removal and Gum Graft

Periodontal disease can sometimes start to actually kill off sections of tissue. This necrotic tissue can't be regenerated. So if you have periodontal pockets that contain some necrotic tissue, your dentist will need to remove the necrosis before performing a gingivoplasty.

You will still undergo a scaling and root planing but that will be followed with the dentist carefully trimming away dead areas of tissue. If the necrosis is minor, a gingivioplasty can then be performed as normal. Severe necrosis can make it necessary for your dentist to follow the gingivoplasty with a gum graft.

Gum grafts are performed using healthy soft tissue from elsewhere in your mouth – usually the mouth's roof. Your dentist will stitch the graft tissue onto the existing tissue to guild up the gum base around the tooth. The two areas of tissue will heal together over time.