The purpose of pocket irrigation aims to cleanse plaque from the interdental (between teeth) and subgingival (under the gumline) regions of the mouth in order to prevent the colonization of harmful oral bacteria. While some patients may be satisfied with just an annual or bi-annual cleaning, others may want further preventative treatments.
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What is pocket irrigation?
At-home irrigators use streams of surging water to remove debris and bacteria on your teeth and gums. There are numerous products on the market that you can buy, ranging from as little as $20 to as much as $150. While these devices can help, the instruments that dentists use in-office are much stronger and can penetrate below your gum line.
Besides being able to request this procedure for extra cleaning, your dentist may recommend it to you during scaling and root planing (SRP) or pocket reduction surgery. During SRP or surgery, your dentist may use an antimicrobial drug in the irrigator, meaning that when this agent is sprayed into gum pockets, it will be able to eliminate any bacteria that was missed.
What are the benefits of pocket irrigation?
Getting a deeper clean is the main benefit of pocket irrigation. While your at-home device definitely helps, again, it cannot penetrate below the gumline. Pocket irrigation can also:
Eliminate bad breath
Bad breath (or halitosis) often occurs because of decayed food debris that keeps getting missed while brushing and flossing. Since the irrigator can reach tiny nooks and crannies in the mouth, it can help flush out any particles.
Make interdental and subgingival cleaning safer
Because irrigators have a rounded tip, they can be put in between teeth, in gum pockets, and below gums without damaging tissue. Once bacteria has been flushed out, gum tissue will be able to heal more tightly around tooth roots.
Be used as an antimicrobial therapy
Again, your dentist may use agents such as fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, tetracycline, saline, etc. to flush gum pockets along with water. Some drugs, like Arestin, can also be injected into gum pockets and can treat bacteria even after you have left the office.
Reduce the likelihood of gum disease
Irrigators have been shown to reduce inflammation, bleeding, and gum pockets along with other therapies.
Aid those with gum and tooth sensitivities
Pocket irrigation cannot replace a good flossing habit. However, if your gums are so sensitive that flossing is impossible at the moment, irrigation may be less harmful to soft tissues. Ultimately, you need to talk with your dentist to figure out how to heal tooth or gum sensitivity.
Help those who are scared of invasive procedures
Oral irrigation is a non-invasive and painless procedure
A few things to consider
Keep in mind that pocket irrigation is not a silver bullet for all of your gum issues. It’s important to have consistent cleanings if your gums are in rough shape. You should also be thorough with brushing, flossing, and any other care instructions that Dr. James Huang recommends.
Are you considering a deep cleaning with pocket irrigation? Contact All In One Dental today!