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What Do the Measurements of Gum Pockets Tell Us?

Posted on 11/16/2020 by Dr. Chad Rebhun
What Do the Measurements of Gum Pockets Tell Us?You may wonder, as a periodontal patient, about the significance of gum pockets and their depth. Why do periodontists use this form of measurement? The following information will help you understand why measuring gum pockets help us structure a treatment plan.

What Are Gum Pockets?

According to the Dear Doctor website, a platform that covers dental and oral health topics, gum pockets represent one of the major signs of gingivitis. In fact, the word “periodontal,” helps explain why gum pockets should be measured. “Peri” in the word “periodontal” and “odont” translate to “around” the “tooth,” or refer to the spaces or pockets that form around the teeth. If the gums become infected, they begin to separate gradually from their hold around the teeth, thereby forming pockets – spaces invisible on a cursory inspection. However, we can detect the pockets during a periodontal exam by measuring their depth and using a probe.

What Gum Pocket Measurements Reveal?

Even when gums are healthy, the top of the gingival tissue does not attach directly to the tooth. A small space, called a sulcus, is present. While food and bacteria can collect in the sulcus, they are usually removed by brushing and flossing if done on a regular basis. However, your toothbrush typically will not reach any more than 3 millimeters or one-tenth inch below the gum line. If the sulcus or space is deeper, the gums will swell and become inflamed. As the gums pull away from the tooth, creating deeper spaces or pockets, harmful bacteria can enter and thrive. Therefore, a pocket or sulcus that is 1 to 3mm deep is normal while a pocket of 3 to 5mm reveals mild periodontal disease. If the space is 5 to 7mm deep, it is an indicator of moderate gum disease while any depth that is 7mm or more reveals advanced gum disease.

If you can see the logic of measuring the gum pockets, you can also take better care of your gums and teeth. Allow us to help you make a commitment to a regular routine or oral health and periodontal care. Contact us today to make an appointment to check your gums and teeth.

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At Optimum Oral Surgery Group, Dr. Donald G. Rebhun has created this informative blog to help educate the community. Read the dental blog posts here.
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