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What Are Gum Pockets?

Posted on 7/23/2016 by Leslie Davis
A man suffering from a periodontal gum pocket.Your dental hygienist is very concerned with your gum pockets. During your dental cleaning, your hygienist will take a probe and lightly touch each tooth, simultaneously, they are recording numbers. This is the process of measuring your gum pockets, and the numbers are an important part of determining the health of your gums.

What do my gum pocket numbers mean?

Healthy gums will have a pocket, known as a sulcus, measuring 3 or less in millimeters. If you are hearing your hygienist say 1,2 or 3, that is a good result. Additionally, if there is no sign of bleeding when the gum tissue is probed, that is also a good sign and a strong indication for healthy gums.

If your hygienist is saying 4, 5 or greater, this is an indication of a problem. The severity of the problem can either be very manageable or an indication of a much larger issue that can lead to tooth loss, teeth shifting, and bone loss. Your dentist, or periodontist, will be able to determine the severity.

How do I get my gum pockets smaller?

For some patients, a simple dental cleaning will do the trick. Followed with a good oral hygiene routine at home of brushing, flossing, and keeping your mouth free of unnecessary bacteria.

Other patients may require a more intense cleaning known as a deep cleaning. This process includes scaling, which is the removal of plaque and tartar from below the gum line, and root planing, which is the smoothing of your roots to help your roots better protect themselves against future bacteria from attaching, is needed.

Still some patients may require even more intense care at the hands of a periodontist, with more appointments and necessary steps to reduce their gum pockets in size.

Please contact us if you have any questions about gum pockets.
The Arizona Institute for Periodontics & Dental Implants
Leslie I. Davis, BDS, DDS, PC
13802 W Camino del Sol Suite 103
Sun City West, AZ 85375-4486

Phone: (623) 584-0664
Fax: (623) 584-1728

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Friday: Closed

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