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Understanding Periodontal Pocket Measurements

Tooth Model

If you’ve ever noticed that film around the bottom of your teeth, that’s plaque. Ideally, you would brush it off at night and in the morning, but you won’t be able to get all of it with a toothbrush. That’s why dentists recommend dental floss. Floss can get in between those harder-to-reach spaces. However, if the plaque is allowed to build up long enough, it enters into the gumline creating small pockets. The pockets can be measured by dentists to determine how far along your periodontal disease has progressed. In this article, we’ll discuss gum pocket measurements and what they mean.

Understanding Periodontitis

Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection in the mouth. While the bacteria won’t kill you, they will feed on the food stuck in between your teeth. They will also feed on your gums. Eventually, when they eat enough of your gums, they will leave a small pocket in which more food can get stuck. In other words, once gum disease starts, it creates all the factors necessary to spread.

The pockets themselves are filled with plaque, tartar, and bacteria which force their way between the gums and the teeth. This causes the gums to recede, eventually resulting in tooth loss. If the gum disease is allowed to continue to spread, it can actually damage the jawbone. Untreated, the bacteria are relentless.

Measuring Pocket Depth

Taking a measure of the pocket depth can indicate how advanced a current periodontal infection is. For those who have ever had a deep cleaning, you likely remember your dentist taking measurements and assigning numbers.

A pocket depth of one to three millimeters indicates a healthy mouth. A pocket depth of four indicates periodontal disease. Anything above four indicates advanced periodontal disease.

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is easier to treat the earlier you catch it. However, most folks only make their way to the dentist after years of not worrying about it. So dentists often have our work cut out for us. Nonetheless, there are treatments regardless of how advanced your gum disease is, but you’re more likely to want to avoid them than rely on them.

Non-surgical treatments include scaling and root planing. Essentially, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar from below the gums and smooth out the roots so that gunk has more difficulty collecting there.

Advanced cases of periodontitis will require more aggressive treatments. This is because the bacteria can begin attacking the jawbone causing problems for your bite and making it more difficult to restore lost teeth. In advanced cases, bone or tissue grafts may be necessary to repair the damage.

Regardless of how advanced your gum disease is, these treatments prove much more effective when the patient makes major changes to their oral hygiene.

Talk to a Cottonwood, AZ Dentist Today

If you’re concerned about your gum disease, call the Cottonwood dentists at Peak Family Dental Care today to schedule an appointment and begin correcting the problem immediately.

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