Gum pockets are the gaps between the teeth and the gum tissue surrounding them. A small ruler, called a probe, is used to measure the size of these gum pockets.
Healthy gums should fit snugly around each tooth, so a typical measurement is between 1-3mm. If tartar or plaque begins to build up underneath the gums, the tissue will start to pull away from the tooth, deepening the pocket. If a gum pocket is deeper than 3mm, it can be an indication of gum disease. The deeper the pocket is, the more severe the gingivitis.
Deep Cleaning Procedures
If you are currently suffering from gum disease or have had it in the past, it’s crucial to receive a deep clean and a scaling every six months. A deep-cleaning method called root planing is a more intensive option prescribed for pockets more than 4mm deep.
During a scaling and root planing procedures, the hygienist will use special dental tools to clean underneath the gum tissue, clearing out tartar, plaque, and bacteria caused by food debris trapped in the pocket.
This can all sound daunting, but luckily gum disease can be managed and treated! You will always need to be diligent about caring for your gum tissue because once you have experienced it, you’re more susceptible to it in the future.
If you believe you have gum disease, it’s important to contact your dentist for an exam. The quicker gum disease is caught, the simpler and less painful it will be to treat.