HAVE YOU EVER BEEN LAID BACK in our dental chair wondering what the numbers mean that a hygienist calls out while examining your gums? They’re readings of the gum pocket depths in your mouth, and they’re an important part of monitoring your gum health.
Pocket Readings Help Us Measure Inflammation
Pocket depth refers to your gums’ attachment to your teeth.
If there’s an infection in your gums, they can become inflamed. The gums slightly pull away from teeth, making that pocket between your teeth and gums deeper. The deeper the pockets, the higher the risk of gum disease.
We use a labeled probe to see how deep the pockets go. 1–3 millimeters is a good reading. Any higher than that, and you may be in the danger zone!
Inflammation Leads To Gum Disease
Bacteria harbors in those deep pockets, and can cause more inflammation and detachment, so it’s important to counteract the first signs of encroaching gum disease right away. The early stages of gum disease (gingivitis) are reversible, with refocused care for your teeth and gums.
However, if the infection has progressed to periodontitis, it becomes a more complex condition to care for, requiring constant vigilance and possibly, more intensive treatments.
Take Your Periodontal Health Seriously
Periodontal disease is the most common cause of lost teeth in adults. Possibly 80% of adults have some level of gum disease. It’s something everyone needs to take seriously.
You can take responsibility for your own dental health. Talk to us about your gum pocket readings. You can even ask to have a mirror and watch as we measure. Ask us what you can do to reduce your risk. And if you have gum disease, take action to get control of the infection right away!
Proper Flossing Is One Of The Greatest Prevention Habits
Regular cleanings with our team can help to fight gum disease, especially when paired with your vigilant at-home care, including daily flossing. If you ever have any questions about your oral health, please ask us!
Thanks for your trust in our practice! Now go floss!
Top image by Flickr user Rory MacLeod used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.