If you have gum disease, you likely have a number of periodontal pockets. These pockets occur when your gums begin to pull away from your teeth, leaving larger spaces around them. Noticing periodontal pockets is one way of determining if you need to come see us about gum disease. But what do these pockets look like?
They Begin as Gingivitis
The early signs of periodontal pockets begin before your gums have even pulled away from the teeth. That's because these pockets are preceded by gingivitis. You may notice that your gums appear swollen or red. They might bleed when you brush them, and you may have more and more instances of bad breath. As gingivitis progresses, your gums become more and more infected with plaque and tarter. Eventually they will noticeably pull away from your teeth, creating periodontal pockets.
How Periodontal Pockets are Diagnosed
If you're dealing with gingivitis, we'll definitely notice it when you come in for your six-month checkup or for any other exam. There are a few things we'll do after we note the signs of gingivitis. We will closely examine your gums to see where they've pulled away. We will also likely use a periodontal probe to measure the pockets around your teeth and determine how deep they are. This will tell us how far your gum disease has progressed.
Periodontal Pockets Defined
In general, a periodontal pocket that is deeper than four millimeters is a sign that your gums have pulled away from your teeth and that you may be losing some bone. If you have two teeth that have pockets that are at least six millimeters deep and one with a five-millimeter pocket, you meet the definition of severe periodontal disease.
Fortunately, periodontal pockets can be treated by removing the plaque and tarter that has built up within them. Your gums will then heal up on their own. If you've had bone loss, there are treatments for that, too. If you're concerned about periodontal pockets or gum disease, contact us today to set up a consultation.