Has your dental hygienist ever checked your gums for “pockets?”
Most routine dental checkups include charting the depth of your gums. If you’ve always managed to pass that part of the exam with flying colors, then you might be wondering what these pockets are.
How Attached Are You To Your Gums?
There’s more to your gums than what you see when you smile. Below the outer layer of pink gum tissue lies a complex network of ligaments. These strong and flexible fibers cushion your tooth in the socket and hold it in place. This is called the “periodontium” or periodontal ligament.
When your gums get inflamed with gingivitis or gum disease, they swell and puff out a bit. This causes them to pull away from the tooth and create a slight gap. Healthy gum tissue should be taut and snug against a tooth.
If this inflammation rages unchecked, it will infect the deeper periodontal layers. As the ligaments break down from inflammation, your tooth loses that attachment. This is what creates gaps or “pockets” in the gums around your teeth.
Why Gum Health Matters
When your dental hygienist measures your gums with a mini ruler, he or she is checking for signs that the periodontal ligament below your gum line has broken down.
Once that normally attached tissue is lost, it doesn’t usually grow back. Over time, teeth can fall out completely if the inflammation isn’t treated.
What causes gum inflammation and pocketing? It all comes down to bacteria in plaque and how your body responds to it. Controlling plaque buildup is important to keeping your gums healthy.
If you suspect that your gums may be suffering from inflammation, contact your dentist for professional help.
Posted on behalf of:
Memorial Park Dental Spa
6010 Washington Ave Suite D
Houston, TX 77007
Sometimes traditional periodontal disease treatment isn’t enough for some people to regain control of their oral health. In some cases, the pockets beneath their gums are so deep that it’s impossible to practice daily plaque removal of all areas. Even a slight bacterial presence of plaque and tartar can keep a diseased area from reversing. As a result, the process becomes more advanced, and further gum and bone loss occurs, compromising the health and stability of the teeth.
Gum pocket surgery is also known as pocket elimination surgery or crown lengthening. The surgery removes excessive diseased pocket tissue so that the area has a much shallower pocket. As a result, the patient can better clean the area on a daily basis, preventing plaque and tartar deposits from causing additional damage. By performing the procedure, patients can gain control over their oral health and extend the life of teeth that are affected by the disease. Combined with routine preventive care visits with your dentist, patients that receive gum pocket surgery are likely to experience better gum health than if they had not undergone the surgical treatment.
Healthy gum pockets range from 0-3 millimeters deep around each tooth. When gum disease is present, pocket areas become deeper due to loss of healthy attachment tissue. When pockets become deeper than 6mm, they are difficult to improve, even with routine cleanings. Gum pocket surgery shortens the pockets back to a healthier depth, so that flossing, brushing or water flossing can clean the area effectively each day. When cleaned thoroughly, the disease process reverses and prevents future loss of support. If you have battled gum disease and it seems as if nothing you are doing is helping to improve the cycle, ask your dentist about surgical options that can shorten your pocket depths.
Posted on behalf of North Point Periodontics
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