Pocket Reduction Surgery

With healthy gums, bone and gum tissue fit snugly around the teeth. With periodontal (gum) disease, bacteria surrounding the teeth and the body’s response to those bacteria destroy the supporting gum tissue and bone. This destruction causes “pockets” to form around teeth. These pockets gradually become deeper, as the bacteria accumulates and become more protected from brushing and flossing. The deeper pockets contain more pathogenic (disease causing) proportions of bacteria, which result in more bone and tissue loss.

In order to preserve a healthy bone and gum tissue for your tooth foundation, pocket reduction surgery is used to eliminate these pockets between gum tissue and bone to a healthy level. The main purpose and goal of this surgery is to stop the progression of the periodontal (gum) disease and maintain the healthy gum tissue.

The three types of Pocket Reduction Surgery are provided at our office.


Gingivectomy is the removal of gum tissue that makes up a periodontal pocket. This type of gum surgery is designed to reshape healthy gum tissue around the teeth. In some cases, Dr. Cook will use a laser procedure that can be done without traditional cutting and suture. In other cases, traditional surgery may need to be done.

Open Flap Debridement

Open flap debridement can be thought of as scaling and root planing with visual access. As pocket depth increases, it becomes more and more difficult to treat non-surgically. The reasons for this are two fold, 1) The deeper the pocket, the more surface area of the root is affected and needs to be cleaned, 2) dental instruments are less effective and more likely to gouge or damage the tooth. Thus, with a lack of visual access, the clinician cannot see the root to clean it and the effectiveness of scaling and root planning is limited. Open flap debridement addresses this problem because the gum tissue is temporarily pushed away to allow visual access.

Osseous surgery

This procedure is similar to open flap debridement where the gum tissue is reflected and teeth are adequately cleaned. However, with this procedure, Dr. Cook gently folds back the gum tissue and eliminates the bone and soft tissue defects, and then the tissue is secured back into place. In some occasions, irregular surfaces of the bone are smoothed to limit the areas where disease-causing bacteria can easily hide.

Please contact our office if you have any question about periodontal (gum) disease. Dr. Cook and our entire staff are dedicated to providing you with excellent and personalized care.