A patient’s gum tissue (gingiva) is the foundation for a healthy mouth, and also provides the framework for healthy teeth. Gum disease or (periodontal) disease is very common in adult patients, and is one of the first things we check during a new patient exam.
An important indicator of periodontal health is the depth of the space between each tooth and the gums. There is a space or “pocket” around each tooth, which is what a hygienist is measuring during an examination of the gum tissue.
A pocket depth of 1-3 millimeters is healthy, any space deeper than that (4-6 mm or more) may indicate gum disease is present. When a patient exhibits any signs of gum disease, a regular “cleaning” is not the answer. Many times, a deeper cleaning (below the gum line) may be necessary.
Will it feel different?
A deep below the gum line cleaning usually feels the same as a regular dental cleaning, but it is most definitely different. The hygienist is working below the gum line, cleaning areas that are not touched in a regular cleaning.
If it’s recommended you receive other procedures besides a regular cleaning, discuss it with your hygienist or dentist and I encourage you to invest the time and money to get your gums healthy again.
What goes around comes around
Gum disease is a cyclical disease. During one visit things may look healthy, and at another visit, early signs of gum disease might be present. We always work with our patients to discuss options before any treatment is performed. The good news is there are many weapons to fight the early stages of gum disease—-ask us how we can help!
Mark Crego D.D.S.