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
Having deep gum pockets not only makes you more likely to lose your teeth, they also contribute to bad breath, crooked teeth and food entrapment between the teeth. When traditional cleanings aren’t enough to restore your gums to proper health, pocket elimination therapy may be the best answer.
Typically someone with gum disease will undergo traditional scaling and root planing treatments. These deep cleanings remove calcified bacteria from the root surfaces of teeth, under the gum pockets. Sometimes these appointments are broken up into two visits so that local anesthesia can keep the patient comfortable throughout the entire treatment. Patients that have had deep cleanings will need to see their dentist for regular periodontal maintenance appointments to maintain their gum health so that pockets can become shallower and not advance any deeper.
For more severe pocket areas, a locally administered antibiotic capsule may be placed in the bottom of the pocket. This medication delivers a constant dose over the period of about 2 weeks, making a dramatic impact on the health of the diseased tissue area.
When non-invasive therapies are ineffective, periodontal surgery may be the most successful way to eliminate and prevent future periodontal pocket development. Flap surgery or crown lengthening can eliminate deep gum pockets and create shallower pockets that are easier for you to keep clean and maintain. This prevents deep tartar or plaque deposits from forming in areas and destroying more bone support.
Contact your dentist to determine what type of gum disease treatment or periodontal pocket surgery is the best option for your dental health. Depending on the severity or stage of your gum pockets, a combination of treatments may be the best answer.
Posted on behalf of North Point Periodontics
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