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Pocket Irrigation

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All About Pocket Irrigation

Generally dental procedures fall into three categories: preventative, cosmetic and restorative. Preventative dental procedures include regular dental exams and cleanings; cosmetic dentistry refers to procedures that are mostly for aesthetic purposes, such as tooth whitening; restorative dentistry offers solutions to dental problems such as tooth loss or damage.

Sometimes a procedure can fit into more than one category, such as the natural relationship between cosmetic and restorative and between restorative and preventative. For example, are several restorative procedures that also have cosmetic benefits, such as dental implants and teeth straightening devices (orthodontics). Likewise, a procedure may sometimes be both a restorative and a preventative measure.

One procedure that falls into this category is pocket irrigation. Pocket irrigation is a cleaning procedure that helps clear plaque build-up from the gum line. Sometimes a dental professional will suggest pocket irrigation for preventative purposes, to help reduce plaque before it can cause gum disease and to remove built-up food particles. Pocket irrigation helps clean the teeth at a more advanced level than a traditional dental cleaning. However, it can also be used as a way to stop gum disease from spreading.

How We Can Help You

The professionals at Burke Dental offer a variety of treatments to patients in the Burke, Virginia area. We offer preventative, cosmetic and restorative dental procedures. At Burke Dental, we know it is our job to give our patients top quality care and to serve all their dental needs. Dr. Ghanavati and his team create custom treatment plans for their patients based on an individual’s specific needs. There are times Dr. Ghanavati will recommend a simple dental cleaning and other times, he will recommend pocket irrigation to provide a deep clean to help treat and avoid gum disease.

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Benefits to Pocket Irrigation

If a patient is showing signs of gum disease, Dr. Ghanavati and his team may recommend pocket irrigation to clean out the area and help stop the spread of the disease. There are many benefits to pocket irrigation, including:

  • Deep cleaning. The pocket irrigation process thoroughly cleans the teeth and removes debris from the teeth. This includes built-up plaque and old food particles. Removing these materials cleans out the pockets of the gums, which lowers the risk of infection and tooth decay.
  • Prevents halitosis. Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is the result of tooth decay and the lingering remains of old food particles. Regular tooth brushing and mouth washing may not be enough to clear up the problems, but pocket irrigation can remove the particles, which helps prevent further decay and removes the stinky particles.
  • Gentle on the gums. The pocket irrigation process is thorough, but gentle on the gums. The instruments are specially designed not to damage the gums, but still provide a thorough cleaning.
  • Kills bacteria. An antimicrobial agent is often part of the pocket irrigation process. This is used to kill harmful bacteria. This is an important step in keeping the mouth healthy.

Pocket irrigation can help kill bacteria and other built-up material, giving the patient the benefits of a clean mouth and healthier gums. Plaque and food particles can lead to tooth decay and gum damage and help breed harmful bacteria. Pocket irrigation helps eliminate these problems while maintaining the patient’s good oral health.

Pocket Irrigation vs. Other Procedures

It is easy to get confused by the different types of dental cleanings and wonder what the difference is between a traditional dental cleaning and procedures such as pocket irrigation or scaling and root planing (SRP, otherwise known as a deep cleaning). Traditional dental cleaning cleans the surface of the teeth and polishes them, but it doesn’t remove plaque from beneath the gum line like a deep cleaning does or like pocket irrigation does.

Pocket irrigation is meant to flush out the area beneath the gum surface. Often times, we will recommend that pocket irrigation be combined with SRP as part of a deep dental cleaning. Deep dental cleanings are recommended when plaque and tartar buildup begins to cause gum disease and threaten the health of the tooth, which is why we will scale the root of the tooth to remove debris and clean the root as best as we can. However, pocket irrigation is not as invasive as SRP and may be recommended separately from the other procedures as a way of flushing out bacteria and built-up material. For example, if a patient is dealing with severe halitosis, we may recommend pocket irrigation but not SRP.


Booking an Appointment for Pocket Irrigation

The first part of the process is to make an appointment with Burke Dental for a check-up and dental cleaning. If we notice large amounts of plaque buildup or signs of gum disease, then instead of going ahead with the cleaning we may recommend booking an appointment for a deep cleaning or pocket irrigation instead, depending on the specific circumstances. Dr. Ghanavati and his team evaluate each patient on an individual basis before making any recommendations. Our goal is to help our patients every way we can and to advise them as to which procedures will best help them preserve their oral health.


Choosing Pocket Irrigation

The team at Burke Dental will recommend pocket irrigation if we discover signs of gum disease, notice large amounts of buildup or notice severe halitosis. Depending on the state of the teeth and gums, we may recommend combining the procedure with SRP. In general, pocket irrigation is not recommended unless there is some cause of concern.


The Procedure

When combined with other procedures, pocket irrigation will likely be done at the end. Once any plaque or tartar buildup have been removed manually, the next step is to flush out the gum area. We will use a special device to perform the procedure. The device has a rounded tip, to help prevent agitating the gums, and an opening on the side which delivers the cleansing agent (often an antimicrobial substance) to the gum area.

If the pocket irrigation is being done separately and not as part of a deep cleaning, we will generally perform a traditional dental cleaning first. This helps provide a clean area and remove any surface particles and build-up, which gives the oral agitator a better working surface.

Once the cleansing agent has been applied and the area has been properly flushed out, the patient will be allowed to rinse their mouth and then they will be free to go home. The team at Burke Dental will advise follow-up options and recommend a time frame for the next appointment.



There is no special recovery instructions for pocket irrigation. If it is done as part of a deep clean or a pocket reduction, the patient may need some recovery and the staff at Burke Dental will advise them accordingly. However for stand-alone pocket irrigation, there are no recovery instructions as a patient should be feeling back to normal shortly after leaving our office. On its own, pocket irrigation is a simple, pain-free procedure.


Contact Burke Dental to Learn More!

The only way to know if pocket irrigation is needed is to make an appointment for a check-up. Appointments can be requested online or by calling our office at 703-978-6000.


We are located at 9006 Fern Park Drive Ste A, Burke, VA 22015

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