Do You Have Deep Pockets?

Having routine dental exams helps keep your smile healthy by detecting problems early and removing plaque, tartar, and bacteria that you miss with brushing and flossing. At the beginning of the appointment, your hygienist checks for signs of periodontal disease using a probe to measure the depth of pockets in your gums. A series of numbers are recorded, but what exactly do these numbers mean?

Periodontal Pockets

A periodontal pocket is a space where the gums do not attach to the teeth. In healthy teeth, the pocket remains at a specific depth between one and three millimeters. Your hygienist takes six measurements per tooth — three measurements on the tongue side and three measurements on the cheek side. On each side of the tooth, measurements are taken along the front, middle and back of the tooth. If probing the pocket reveals that the pocket is deeper than three millimeters, you have periodontal disease.

Monitoring Pocket Depth

Oral hygiene is not the only factor that influences your periodontal pocket depth. Smokers tend to have deeper pockets, and some medical conditions may cause your gums to have pockets that are deeper than three millimeters. If you have pockets that are in the moderate range, perhaps a five or seven, your dentist may recommend monitoring the area for any signs that periodontal disease is worsening.

Treatments for Deep Periodontal Pockets

Moderately deep periodontal pockets are typically treated with a deep cleaning that cleans the visible surface of the tooth, as well as a portion of the tooth below the gum line. This procedure is known as “root planing.” We may recommend x-rays to look for signs of tooth decay and bone loss, which may require extraction or another type of treatment.

Schedule Your Dental Exam Today. Contact Centennial Dental Center.

Having your periodontal pockets evaluated is an important part of having a healthy, beautiful smile. To learn more about routine dental exams, cosmetic dentistrysame day crowns and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center to schedule a personal consultation. We are conveniently located in Boise, Idaho, and you can call us directly at (208) 322-1112.