During a routine dental visit, your dentist might perform an examination of your gums. One of the steps during a gum examination is measuring the pockets of your gums. Gum pockets are areas between your teeth and gums, and these areas are where gum disease develops. If you've never had this done before, here are three things you should know.
How gum disease forms
Your teeth will naturally develop plaque on them from the foods and beverages you consume. When you brush and floss, you remove the plaque; however, this requires good oral care habits. If you do not brush and floss well, the plaque can work its way under the gums and this is what leads to the formation of gum disease. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year is a great way to also protect your teeth and gums from gum disease and allowing a dentist to examine and measure your gum pockets can be helpful in diagnosing gum disease.
How dentists detect gum disease
When you visit a dentist for an examination and cleaning, he or she can complete a gum tissue examination. During this, the dentist will use a small tool to measure the pockets in your gum lines. This tool measures in terms of millimeters (mm), and the measurements will reveal whether you have healthy gums or gum disease.
If the gum line pockets measure between 0 to 3 mm, you have healthy gums. If they measure between 3 to 5 mm, this is a sign of initial stages of gum disease. If they are deeper than 5 mm, you may have a progressive state of gum disease. Getting this examination at least once a year is great at preventing major gum disease problems in your mouth.
How your dentist may treat the problem
If your dentist finds problems with your gums, he or she will treat the problems according to the severity level. With initial stages of gum disease, a dentist will normally treat the problem by performing a procedure called scaling and root planing. This procedure involves deep-cleaning the gum lines as a way of removing the built-up plaque and bacteria. If you have a more severe stage of gum disease, you may need a gum graft or another type of procedure to fix the problem.
Having healthy gums is just as important as having healthy teeth. To schedule an appointment for an examination and cleaning, contact a local family dentistry clinic.