What are Gum Pockets?

Do you know what gum pockets are? If not, you’re not alone. Many people have never heard of this term before. Gum pockets are small pockets of space that form between your teeth and gums. These pockets can become filled with plaque and bacteria, which can lead to discomfort and pain. In this blog post, we will discuss what gum pockets are, what causes them, and how they can be treated.

What Exactly are Gum Pockets?

Healthy gums fit snugly around your teeth. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, which occurs when the gums become inflamed. This inflammation is usually caused by plaque and bacteria that have built up around the teeth. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease that can damage the gums, bones, and connective tissues that support the teeth. One of the most common signs of periodontitis is the formation of gum pockets.

Gum pockets, also known as periodontal pockets, form when the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. This creates small spaces, or pockets, that can become filled with plaque and bacteria. Gum pockets can range in size from small to large. Large gum pockets are more likely to cause problems such as pain, infection (pocket of pus in gums), and tooth loss.

Pockets are not only a cause for concern because of the potential for discomfort. They are also a sign that your gum disease has progressed to a more serious stage. If you have periodontal pockets, it’s important to see a dentist or periodontist to identify the underlying cause and treat it.

Size and Severity

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Gum pockets can range in size from shallow to deep. Shallow gum pockets are not as serious because there is less room for plaque and bacteria to build up. Deep pockets between teeth are more serious because they can damage the gums, bones, and connective tissues that support the teeth.

Gum pockets are measured in millimeters (mm) with a periodontal probe.

  • 1 to 3 mm: considered normal and healthy
  • 4 to 5 mm: mild pocket
  • 5 to 7 mm: moderate pocket
  • More than 7 mm: deep gum pocket and cause for concern

The depth of an infected gum pocket can give your dentist or periodontist a good idea of the severity of your gum disease. Based on the severity, your dentist or periodontist will determine what treatment options are suitable for you. If you have shallow periodontal pockets, you may be able to treat them with professional teeth cleaning and a good oral hygiene routine. If you have deep periodontal pockets, you will likely need more aggressive treatment.

Periodontal pockets are measured in millimeters (mm)
Periodontal pockets are measured in millimeters (mm) with a periodontal probe.

What are The Risk Factors for Gum Pockets?

Gum pockets are a sign of periodontitis, which is a serious form of gum disease. Gum disease is usually caused by plaque and bacteria that have built up around the teeth. However, other factors can increase your risk for gum disease. These include:

  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • Family history
  • Certain medications
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications
  • A weakened immune system
  • Moderate to severe teeth overcrowding

These factors are what increase the risk of periodontal pockets. If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to see a dentist or periodontist for an evaluation. They can help you determine what steps you need to take to reduce your risk of gum disease.

Risk factors for periodontal pockets
Poor oral hygiene and smoking increase the risk of periodontal pockets.

Diagnosis

If you think you may have gum pockets, the first step is to see a dentist or periodontist for an evaluation. They will ask about your medical history and symptoms. They will also do a physical examination of your mouth. This examination will help them determine if you have gum pockets and what stage of gum disease you are in.

Periodontal pockets are measured using a periodontal probe. This is a small, sharp tool that is inserted into the pocket to measure its depth. The periodontal probe is used to measure the depth of the pocket from the gum line to the bottom of the pocket. The periodontist will then use this information to determine the severity of the gum disease and what treatment options are suitable for you.

What are Treatment Options for Gum Pockets?

The treatment options for gum pockets will depend on the severity of your gum disease. If you have shallow gum pockets, you may be able to treat them with professional teeth cleaning and a good oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash.

If you have deep periodontal pockets, you will likely need more aggressive treatment. This may include:

  • Scaling and root planing. It is a deep cleaning, which involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and roots surfaces.
  • Antibiotics. You may also need to take antibiotics to help clear the infection.
  • Pocket reduction surgery. In this surgery, the gum tissue is lifted away from the tooth so that the pocket can be cleaned. The gum tissue is then stitched back into place.
  • Bone grafting. If you have lost bone due to periodontitis, you may need a bone graft to help restore it. You can read more about reversing periodontal disease bone loss.
  • Tooth extraction. In severe cases, you may need to have a tooth extracted. Your dentist may recommend a dental implant or bridge to replace the missing tooth.

These are some of the treatment options for periodontal pockets. Your dentist or periodontist will help you determine what treatment is best for you based on the severity of your gum disease.

You can read more about loose teeth after deep cleaning.

Home Care Tips

What else can you do to help reduce gum pockets? In addition to professional treatment, some home care tips can help. These include:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove food debris from between teeth.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Avoiding tobacco use.
  • Eat a healthy diet that contains lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Visit your dentist or periodontist regularly (every 6 months) for checkups and professional teeth cleaning.

You can read more about how to reduce gum pockets naturally.

Conclusion

Gum pockets, also known as periodontal pockets, are a sign of periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease. Gum disease begins when plaque and tartar build-up around the teeth and cause the gums to become inflamed. If left untreated, gum disease can progress and lead to the formation of gum pockets. Periodontal pockets are spaces that form between the teeth and gums. They can become infected and lead to tooth loss.

Gum pockets can be shallow or deep. Treatment options depend on the severity of the gum disease. Home care tips, such as brushing and flossing regularly can also help reduce gum pockets. If you think you may have gum disease, see a dentist or periodontist for an evaluation.

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