Dental Tips Blog


4, 2, 3…What Do All Those Numbers Mean?

Posted in Gum Disease

Your hygienist is looking intently at your teeth, like she’s trying to spot something that isn’t there. You hear her calling out a series of numbers (a secret code, maybe?) to the assistant next to her. 4, 2, 3…3, 2, 3…3, 2, 4…what do all of these numbers mean?

Measuring the Health of Your Smile

First off, any numbers that you hear which are three or below are good. It’s the numbers higher than a three that you need to be concerned with.

What your hygienist is doing is measuring the attachment levels of your gums around each tooth. There is a naturally occurring “pocket” under your gums, which is an area that can collect bacteria and become infected. If it is diseased, the gums start to detach from your tooth and make the pocket deeper, not to mention destroy bone structure during the process.

Healthy gum “pockets” are anywhere up to 3mm deep. Deeper pockets can’t be cleaned with oral hygiene aids like floss. Instead, special instruments must be used to clean them at your dentist’s office. The difficulty managing them can predispose you to getting even more severe infections or lose your teeth completely.

Treating Gum Disease

Usually, moderate periodontitis (gum disease) is treated with a series of deep cleanings. “Deep,” because they’re further below the pocket. This creates a clean space where healthier gums can potentially reattach to your tooth, shortening the depth of the pocket (and halting additional bone loss.)

Periodontal exams are the process of measuring six separate areas on each individual tooth. Ask your dentist or hygienist what the numbers on your periodontal chart mean!

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554


How to Erase Gingivitis in Just 2 Weeks

Posted in Gum Disease

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue, and is easily reversed. Most people experience this type of gum infection at least once in their lives. Sometimes, there are no apparent symptoms, so no one knows they have gingivitis. In other cases, people notice bleeding from their gums when they brush, or report that their gums feel a little sore. Regardless, everyone will benefit from learning about this common disease and how to fight it.


Your mouth is home to a variety of bacteria. Some bacteria can irritate the gums, if left undisturbed for even a brief period of time. The harmful bacteria multiply and gather into a substance called plaque, which also contains remnants of food. This plaque causes the gum infection. Plaque left on the teeth turns into tartar, within a matter of days. The tartar is also an irritant to gums, and provides a place for bacteria to stick to.

How to Reverse the Process

Gingivitis can be reversed simply by making some improvements in the way you care for your mouth:

  • Brush for two minutes, twice a day
  • Floss once daily to remove plaque from below the gum-line between teeth
  • Use an antiseptic/antibacterial mouth-rinse twice a day to slow plaque development

Within two weeks of following the routine listed above, you should see reduced signs of gingivitis.

Go to the Dentist!

Even though you may have eliminated gingivitis once, it will come back, if you slack off. And don’t forget to maintain a consistent schedule of professional cleanings at your local dentist office to have tartar buildup removed on a regular basis.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554


Crown Lengthening for Periodontal Disease and Restorative Treatment

Posted in Gum Disease

Crown lengthening is an effective surgical method that is used to help patients with gum disease manage their condition more effectively. The treatment process involves the removal of diseased tissue surrounding the teeth, tissue that is unattached and causes a deep pocket around the tooth that builds up plaque, tartar and food debris. These areas are difficult if not impossible to keep clean, and frequently progress into more severe forms of gum disease due to the patient’s inability to keep the area healthy.

During the procedure, the excess gum tissue is surgically trimmed or recontoured using a laser, completely changing the margin of the gumlines along the teeth. By doing so this creates a shallower pocket around the teeth, which patients are able to keep clean. When the area is kept free of biofilm and food deposits, the disease process can be reversed and the life and stability of the tooth can be restored.

The process of crown lengthening does cause the teeth to appear longer, with a portion of the tooth root then being exposed. These areas are susceptible to sensitivity, but the use of sensitivity toothpastes or supplemental fluoride can manage the condition. Once the disease is reversed and manageable, it may be an option to perform gum grafting to cover any areas of concern.

Crown lengthening is primarily used for the treatment of gum disease, but it can also be a useful part of treating teeth in need of restorations such as crowns when there is not enough tooth above the gum line present to support a crown. Lengthening the exposed amount of tooth above the gums leaves enough tooth structure to support a functional crown on the tooth.

Posted on the behalf of North Point Periodontics


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