Gum pockets are spaces below the gum lines that are at least 4 millimeters in length and that have become infected. Gum pockets are a symptom of periodontitis. The pockets form as the gums recede from the teeth, and their difficulty for accessibility make for a hospitable environment for harmful bacteria. If immediate action is not taken, gum pockets can wreak havoc on a patient's teeth and mouth.
Damage Inflicted by Gum Pockets
Harmful bacteria can thrive in a gum pocket because toothbrushes and floss cannot reach them (the maximum reach of standard oral care is approximately 3 millimeters). Without professional care to treat the gum pockets, the harmful bacteria will grow and multiply, reducing the amount of gum tissue and bone tissue as the bacteria continue to spread. When left unchecked, the bacteria will erode the structures keeping the teeth rooted to the mouth, causing loose teeth or even complete teeth loss.
Treating Gum Pockets
Gum pockets that are the result of gingivitis can be treated to the point of being effectively removed. When there is no significant bone loss, a healthy mouth can undo the damage caused by gingivitis after the patient undergoes professional cleaning with our team. However, gum pockets that are formed due to periodontitis are irreversible; the only action that our team can take is to treat the gum pockets. Our team will recommend more frequent and more intense cleanings for our patients with periodontitis. The increased frequency and thoroughness of cleaning will be necessary to remove the deep-seated harmful bacteria and to monitor the damaged mouth.
Gum pockets – as well as any health condition pertaining to the gums – are a warning sign of significant oral health problems and should be treated as soon as possible. If you suspect that you have gum pockets or another oral health issue, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
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Nicholas Dose, DMD 601 1st Street Suite A Lake Oswego, OR 97034-2370