Gum disease is a chronic condition that is indicated by periodontal pockets, or areas where bacteria builds up and makes a home in a space between the gums and teeth. The pocket depths vary based on the severity of the disease; they will be measured to determine the level of gum disease therapy you need. If your dentist is worried about the presence of periodontal pockets, keep reading to learn more about what that means from your periodontist in Boston, Dr. Alexander R. Schrott.
How Periodontal Pockets Form
When plaque and food particles are not removed from your teeth through proper brushing and flossing, harmful bacteria multiply in the space between your teeth and your gums. These bacteria cause inflammation in the surrounding gums, which over time eats away at the periodontal tissue and an empty space is created — this is the “pocket” resulting from gum disease. It’s what your dentist and dental hygienist are looking at when they examine your mouth during a periodontal exam, a routine checkup or a cleaning.
Periodontal pockets are measured with a special probe to determine the severity of gum disease which can help to guide treatment.
What the Depths of Periodontal Pockets Mean
Shallow periodontal pockets up to 3 mm are normal and don’t necessarily indicate a problem. However, gum inflammation can be present even with shallower pockets and would indicate the beginning stage of gum disease, which is also known as gingivitis. Depths range from 1 to 4 millimeters. At this level, the inflammation can be reversed with improved dental hygiene and a few extra visits to your hygienist.
Once periodontal pockets have reached a depth of 5 millimeters or more, it is likely that you have gum disease. At that stage proper treatment is imperative to prevent more inflammation, more bone loss and ultimately the loss of teeth.
Your periodontist may recommend scaling and root planing, which is a non-invasive procedure in which special instruments are used to clean above and below the gum line. It is also referred to as a “deep cleaning”.
More severe cases of gum disease may require surgical intervention. Pocket reduction therapy and periodontal regeneration are specialized treatments that can help reduce the depths of periodontal pockets and regain lost bone.
How We Treat Periodontal Pockets
If your dentist is worried about periodontal pockets, it is a good idea to visit a periodontist like Dr. Schrott. He can provide effective solutions for gum disease, including scaling and root planing, pocket reduction therapy, and periodontal regeneration to help rebuild lost gum tissue. These treatments can help rescue your smile from the damaging effects of gum disease.
About Dr. Alexander R. Schrott
Dr. Schrott is a highly trained specialist in periodontal therapy and dental implant surgery. He offers a specialized array of services to patients in and around Belmont, MA. To learn more about gum disease treatment or to schedule an appointment to discuss periodontal pockets, please don’t hesitate to contact the office at 617-484-9240!