Everyone knows that failing to brush and floss can cause discoloration and tooth decay, but few people realize just how damaging poor oral hygiene can be to your gum tissue and the other underlying supportive structures of your mouth. The oral cavity contains over 25 strains of different bacteria that produce acids as they grow and multiply. To protect itself, your gum tissue responds by pulling away from the dental surfaces where these bacteria thrive, creating a pocket between the tooth surface and the gums. Unfortunately, this pocket can house additional bacteria and food particles, leading to gingival pockets that grow deeper and more infected over time.

For this reason, periodontal disease progression is gauged on the depth of your gingival pockets. Healthy teeth should have gingival pockets that are no deeper than 1 or 2 millimeters, while people with advanced periodontitis can have gingival pocket depths of deeper than 7 millimeters. The deeper the pocket, the more damage bacteria can cause, eventually leading to tooth loss and bone loss that can change your natural facial contours. For this reason, we treat these pockets with osseous surgery.


Osseous surgery, also referred to as flap surgery or pocket reduction surgery, is the process of having a periodontist manually remove plaque and tartar below the gumline to encourage the gums to reattach to the teeth. During osseous surgery, a strong local anesthetic is used to numb your teeth and gums. Next, the gum tissue is gently folded back to expose the trouble areas. After the surfaces of the teeth are cleaned and checked for decay or pitting, they are smoothed to fill in any areas that could harbor bacteria. When the area is cleaned, the gums are brought back down into their natural place, where they can now heal properly.

What begins as minor irritation of the gum tissue can progress into a disease affecting the supporting ligaments and bones of the mouth

The Benefits of Osseous Surgery

Osseous surgery has many benefits, including:

Reducing the Spread of Bacteria

Oral bacteria can become so much of a problem that it can leach into your bloodstream and cause systemic inflammation, which is why periodontitis has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. Fortunately, by undergoing osseous surgery, you can reduce the spread of bacteria to keep your body healthier.

Stopping Bone Loss

Undergoing osseous surgery can also stop bone loss, since bacteria can spark an inflammatory reaction that destroys bone tissue. Preventing bone loss helps you to keep your natural teeth and to maintain a shapely jawbone.

Straightforward Recovery

Osseous surgery offers a very simple recovery. Most patients recover quickly, only dealing with mild swelling that can be handled with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen.

Easier Oral Hygiene Routines

Reducing the depth of the periodontal pockets also helps patients to keep their teeth and gums cleaner, which will fend off future problems with periodontal disease. When the pockets are deep, patients can have a difficult time cleaning underneath the gum tissue, leading to bad breath and ongoing, hidden decay. However, healthy pockets makes it possible to remove a significant amount of food grime every time you brush, leading to better check-ups.

Make an Appointment Today!

If you are experiencing reddened gums that bleed easily, schedule an appointment with your Pittsburgh periodontist for your annual comprehensive periodontal exam. During this examination, Dr. Silberg will carefully inspect the health of your teeth, gums, and underlying bone tissue to spot problems early and to address them proactively.

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6200 Steubenville Pike Suite 201
McKees Rocks, PA 15136

Office Hours:

Monday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Tuesday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Wednesday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Thursday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Friday: Closed

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