How do you treat a deep pocket?

I’m concerned about a problem I have with two back molars. They are spreading apart and the dentist told me a deep pocket now exists in that area. While I had the appointment, deep cleaning was performed and I was told the dentist would review my situation at the next appointment. I’m concerned.
I’m wondering if I can do anything else besides brushing and flossing, to reduce the pocket. Do you have any suggestions?
– Cathy from Oklahoma

Dear Cathy,
It’s quite likely your dentist will schedule you for a three to four month periodontal cleaning schedule to keep your gums healthy and maintain the bone levels around your teeth. Many times, deep cleaning may reduce pockets to the point where a patient can keep the area clean and free from disease. In fact, the disease process may be stopped so no more treatment may be necessary. This is why it’s vitally important to have this cleaning program done regularly and you must also practice proper brushing and flossing as this will help the pocket reduce in size. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things.

If pockets do not reduce enough with periodontal cleaning and other recommended activities, and if the patient is having a challenge keeping the pockets clean, there is another alternative. The dentist will recommend crown lengthening. This procedure is generally performed by a periodontist, a specialist who knows how to treat periodontal disease. There are some dentists who are trained in this procedure as well.  The process of crown lengthening is a fairly simple surgical procedure performed using a local anesthetic. What happens is that excess tissue around the tooth is removed so more tooth structure is exposed and contoured closer to the bone. The procedure minimizes the distance from the top of the gums to the bone, thus reducing the pocket and enabling the patient to keep the area cleaner. When you see your dentist, you’ll be able to get more information on how to proceed.

This blog brought to you by Tulsa dentist, Dr. Noah.