Week before last, I went to a local periodontist to have a deep pocket behind my back molar looked at. At my last regularly scheduled cleaning, my regular dentist said that a pocket that used to measure 6mm suddenly is measuring a 9. And that change happened in just six months!
So he gave me the name of a periodontist, I went in within days for an initial consultation, and she confirmed the 9. We scheduled a time for the oral surgery. I was a bit nervous going in, but after she shot up my mouth full of numbing agent, I asked if I could have a hand mirror so I could watch her work, so I could see my jawbone for myself.
She recommended that I wait til after she was done cutting open my gum, and I agreed might be a smart move. I watched nearly the entire procedure, which is technically called "guidedtissueregeneration". This entailed opening up the pocket so the infection could be cleaned out, then the side of the tooth facing the infection is smoothed out, then some cadaver bone is put in place next to my bone in hopes that new bone will grow.
The operation went pretty smoothly. There was not a ton of bleeding during or after, though the infection cleanup was pretty nasty. We could easily see what the xrays were showing, a pretty huge pocket where the bacteria were homesteading. The bone meal came in a off-white powder form which was mixed with liquid to make into a hash that resembled prepared horseradish. This material was carefully placed into the pocket, then the gum flaps were closed up with a couple of stitches, and the whole process was done in about an hour.
The numbness wore off later in the day, and the pain wasn't bad at all. The anxiety about the pain was worse. I ate some 800mg ibuprofen and finished up a week's regimen of antibiotics and used an antiseptic mouth rinse and the area healed pretty quickly.
A couple of days ago, the gum was healed and pain free enough for me to carefully slide a length of floss in there. It sure seemed to go deep! In my follow up appointment yesterday, the doctor confirmed the nice healing and she gave me a small, specialized brush to use in that area. She said our main task now is to mechanically brush away any bacteria so they don't set up shop there again.
It was really great of the periodontist to be ok with my watching her work. And it was also cool of her to write down the name of the procedure so I can blog about it. Thumbs up, I recommend her. If you need a recommendation, send me a ping.