What Are Gum Pockets and Why Do They Matter?
During your examinations with Dr. Burgdorf, you’ve experienced us measuring your gum pockets. This is the part of your examination where you lean back and Dr. Burgdorf uses a small probe on your gums and calls out numbers. But what is actually happening during this time and why is it necessary?
What Are Gum Pockets?
It’s normal to have a small amount of space between your gum tissue and your teeth (one of the reasons why we stress flossing so much). Healthy gum pockets measure between one and three millimeters, so if we’re measuring your pockets and you hear a steady stream of ones, twos, and threes, your gums are in good shape.
If you start hearing fours called out, however, it means that gum disease may be on its way, and we need to discuss preventive techniques to stop mild inflammation from progressing into full-blown periodontal disease.
If you are hearing fives and sixes mixed in, then you have periodontal disease. We’ll discuss treatment options, which can include deep cleanings, antimicrobial products, and antibiotics. But if your gum pockets measure more than seven millimeters, then there’s a good chance that permanent damage could be occurring, which could require surgery to fix.
Avoiding Gum Disease
Periodontal disease is an epidemic in the U.S. The CDC estimates that about half of all adults over the age of 30 have some form of the disease, and your risk increases greatly as you get older. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss here in the U.S. Worse yet, periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your gums and teeth – studies have connected gum disease with serious medical conditions including heart disease and diabetes. Periodontal disease in pregnant women is associated with difficulties including low birth weights.
So how can we avoid it?
Regular check-ups and cleanings with Dr. Burgdorf are great first steps. We can show you the best techniques to use during your home brushing and flossing routines, too. Eating a healthy diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and getting plenty of rest and exercise builds a healthy immune system to help you fight off infection.
You might be more prone to periodontal disease if it runs in your family. This is why we ask you about your family medical history. If you appear to have a higher risk, we’ll take special precautions to help keep your gums in great shape.
Call Our Bridgeton MO Office for a Check-Up!
Is it time for your regular check-up? Even if you are overdue, give us a call so we can work on improving the health of your gums.