Periodontal Pocketing: Seven Problems and How to Treat Them
What is Periodontal Pocketing?
Between every one of your teeth and your gums is a space known as the gingival sulcus. This is the space where food debris usually builds up, and it
s why dentists make such a big deal about brushing the base of your teeth and flossing. Flossing is specifically for cleaning the gingival sulcus!
Measuring Periodontal Pockets
When a dentist sticks a probe in your gums and calls out numbers to the hygienist, one of the things they
re doing is measuring how deep your periodontal sulcus is. If it
s less than three millimeters deep, everything
s good and healthy.
However, if it
s four millimeters or deeper, that
s a sign that the gum has detached from your tooth. When that happens, a
forms between the detached gum tissue and your tooth
lots of food debris can accumulate there and it
s difficult to clean.
Once a pocket has grown deep enough to allow bacteria access to the roots of your teeth and your bones, tissue can be lost permanently without treatment. Untreated periodontal pocketing can lead to a loss of teeth and jaw bone density, which can endanger teeth that didn
t even have periodontal pocketing issues in the first place.
Problems Associated with Periodontal Pocketing
Pockets are associated with a lot of unpleasant dental problems, including:
- Tooth loss and decay
- Bone density loss in the jaw
- Bad breath
- Gum inflammation
- Gum loss
- Tooth pain
How to Prevent Periodontal Pocketing
s not hard to prevent periodontal pockets. Good oral hygiene habits go a long way.
- Brush regularly, especially after meals, and focus on the areas where your teeth meet your gums
- Use water to rinse your mouth out every once in a while. This can also help strengthen teeth if your municipal water supply is fluoridated
- Replace your toothbrush every three months, or when the bristles start to wear. Many toothbrushes have colored bristles that turn white at the tip when the brush is ready to be thrown out
- Use tartar control toothpaste
- Floss daily, using the floss to clear debris and plaque from between your teeth and gum tissue
- Have a dental check-up every six months so that your dentist can look for signs of pocketing before it
s too late and have a professional tooth cleaning performed
Treatments for Periodontal Pocketing
Periodontal pockets cannot be fixed just with good oral hygiene; if they
ve grown very deep, you would need a periodontal pocket reduction procedure performed. If no bone loss has occurred, you would need a procedure called scaling or root planing. Your periodontist would fold back the gum tissue lining the pocket, clean it, and secure it back onto your tooth where it would be able to reattach to the tooth, as long as there are no complications along the way.
In more advanced cases, oral surgery will be necessary. Oral surgery for periodontal pocketing might sound like overkill, but it
s the only way to be sure when bone has been compromised.
Unfortunately, these procedures are expensive and can include lengthy recovery times where you will have to observe stricter oral hygiene rules. Plus, you will have to take greater care of your teeth forever after. This is why it
s so important to deal with periodontal pocketing early, or better yet, to prevent it entirely. For more information on how you can receive periodontal treatment, visit our website today!