What does it mean to have deep gum pockets?

Published on December 5, 2018 by

A gum pocket is the space or gap between our tooth and its surrounding gum. Your hygienist or dentist will use a tiny little ruler we call a probe to measure the space between your gum and tooth, the pocket. Healthy gums will fit snuggly around the tooth and the measurement will be between 1-3mm.

When there is plaque or tartar around or below the gum, it starts to pull away creating a deeper pocket due to inflammation and swelling from the bacteria. This is when the gum starts to have ‘pockets’ deeper than 3mm indicating some form of gum disease.

These deep pockets now allow for bacteria to travel down further below the gum and can start to affect and damage the bone around the teeth. The deeper the pocket is, usually the more severe the inflammation or disease is.

What is deep cleaning?

Generally, your hygienist or dentist will recommend a scale and clean every 6 months.

This will usually be a ‘regular’ hygiene clean appointment which involves a scale and polish and fluoride if required.

A deep cleaning also known as a root planing is different, it is prescribed for gum disease that has progressed or for pockets that are greater than 4mm.

It involves your hygienist or dental professional carefully using various scaling tools to work under the gum line to clean away the calculus, debris of food that is stuck and also bacteria.

A full mouth gum pocket measurement chart may also be required as a diagnostic tool to help monitor the progress of the gum disease.

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