Dental Tips Blog


3,2,3…2,1,2… What Do Those “Probing” Numbers Mean?

Posted in Gum Disease

It’s that time, again. Time for us to update your periodontal chart! This means that you’ll hear your hygienist measuring your teeth and reporting the numbers found. What exactly is being measured? And what do these numbers mean?

What Is a Periodontal Chart?

A periodontal chart is a map reflecting the clinically-measurable levels of gum and bone structure that protect and support your teeth. This chart records a total of six measurements for each tooth. These measurements are updated on a regular basis to document what areas are affected by recession or gum disease and helps us decide what treatment to recommend.

How and Why Is Probing Done?

Probing is done with a periodontal probe – a tiny dental ruler marked in millimeters. This probe is gently moved around each tooth just below the gumline. The probe measures from the top of the gum-line to the base of the shallow pocket created by the healthy seal between the gums and the tooth.

The Numbers: Keys to Your Periodontal Health

This shallow pocket, or sulcus, typically measures 1-3 millimeters in health. At this depth, you can keep your gums clean with a toothbrush and floss. Multiple measurements of 4 millimeters indicate that the gums are getting puffy from inflammation. This condition is reversible and is known as gingivitis. Measurements of 5 millimeters and greater can mean that the inflammation has advanced past the gums to involve the underlying ligaments and bone. This is periodontal disease. You want lower numbers!

Now that you know what those numbers mean, you’re ready to take action to keep them low! Visit your dentist for regular professional dental cleanings and checkups on the health of your gums.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

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