Posted on 5/27/2016 by Implant & Periodontal Associates NW
When you go to the dentist, one of the main things that will go on at your appointment is that your dentist will measure the pockets in the gums that surround your teeth.
This is crucial in identifying your risk of gum disease, and it can help to catch the problem early. By detecting and treating gum disease early, it can prevent the need for more invasive treatment methods like surgery or extraction.
How Do Periodontal Pockets Develop?
As gum disease progresses, some of the visible markers of disease will start to move down the sides of the teeth and into the pocket found between the tooth's enamel and the gum line ridge. This causes the gums to inflame and will naturally widen the gap found between the gum and the tooth.
As the gap widens, more bacteria will be allowed to get into the area to access the fibers of the outer surface of the root, resulting in damage. The end result could be bone loss, so probing is needed to detect the problem before it can get to this extent of damage.
What Happens during Dental Probing?
]The dental probing procedure is simple, and it involves using a dental tool to measure how deep the pocket of the tooth is. A probe acts similarly to a ruler, and it will have markers on the side that include millimeter measurements. Your dentist will place that probe into the pocket gently, noting the depth in millimeters.
Those are the numbers that you have likely heard your dentist calling out to the hygienist to document. For each tooth, your dentist will take six measurements - three on the inside and three on the outside. A healthy reading will be three millimeters or less, and anything more than that might require treatment.
While periodontal probing might not be extremely comfortable, it is an important part of maintaining good oral health, so make sure you are visiting your dentist regularly to have your pocket depth measured.