Posted on Feb 24, 2020
Gum pockets are the spaces or gaps between our teeth and the gum tissue that surrounds them. Here at Meadows Family Dentistry, we use a small rule called a probe to measure the size of these pockets. Healthy gums fit snugly around the tooth, and a normal measurement is between 1-3mm.
If tartar or plaque is building up around or beneath the gums, the tissue will start to pull away, creating a deeper pocket. This is due to the irritation and inflammation caused by the bacteria in plaque. Pockets deeper than 3mm indicate some level of gum disease. The deeper the pocket, the more severe the gum disease has become.
If you currently have gum disease or if you’ve had it in the past, we recommend receiving a scaling and a deep clean every 6 months. A deep cleaning method known as root planing is a bit different and is prescribed for pockets deeper than 4mm.
Scaling and root planing consist of our hygienist carefully using special tools to clean beneath the gum disease, ridding the space of plaque, tartar, and bacteria caused by food debris stuck in the pockets. A full-mouth pocket measurement may also be used as a diagnostic tool that can help us monitor your progress.
The good news is that gum disease can be treated and controlled, however it may require regular maintenance visits to monitor progress and keep the disease from returning. Those who are predisposed to gum disease will need to return for regular periodontal visits while others will only need to return for regular dental cleaning appointments. We will let you know your recommended treatment plan once we’re able to determine the severity of your gum disease.
Ignoring gum disease will only allow it to progress, eventually leading to the breakdown of soft tissue and bone. This will result in the eventual loss of your teeth. The sooner we can diagnose and treat gum disease, the better the outcome!