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The Dangers Of Periodontal Pockets
A great oral care routine should also include paying close attention to gum health. Our gums form an important part of the structure of our mouths, holding our teeth firmly in place and protecting their roots. By taking care of our gums, it is possible to prevent the development of gum disease. There are different stages of gum disease, beginning with gingivitis and at its worst, becoming full-blown periodontitis. Left untreated, gum disease can cause periodontal pockets.
What are periodontal pockets?
Periodontal pockets are an unavoidable part of periodontal disease. They are caused by deterioration of the gum tissue and bone, which create deep spaces – or pockets – around your teeth.
Why are the dangers associated with periodontal pockets?
Periodontal pockets pose a considerable threat to already fragile oral health. If you have periodontal disease then you will already be experiencing a number of unpleasant symptoms such as soreness, swelling and bleeding of the gums, bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth.
Periodontal pockets are usually no bigger than two to three mm deep and have very small openings. Their shape makes it for bacteria to become trapped inside them, and it is virtually impossible for anyone other than a professional to clean them. As periodontitis develops, the periodontal pockets often become even deeper, making the bacteria in them even less accessible. This means that they are left to thrive, multiply and advance under the gum tissue, causing even more tissue and bone loss along with pain, spreading infection and a range of associated health conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Eventually, if bone loss becomes too severe, the affected teeth will either fall out naturally or need to be extracted.
Cleaning your periodontal pockets: Scaling and root planing
Before your periodontal pockets get too deep, it will be possible for Dr. Sam and the team to perform regular professional cleans which will help maintain your gum health for as long as possible. These deep cleans are also referred to as scaling and root planing, and specialist tools are used to extract all of the bacteria from inside the pockets. In some cases, Dr. Sam or your hygienist may also administer a course of antibiotics to completely clear any infection.
Dental hygienists often perform an assessment called a pocket measurement during your routine appointments. This is to check the depth of any periodontal pockets you may have. If your periodontal pockets begin to extend too far, usually 5mm or more, we may recommend that you consider pocket reduction therapy. Unsurprisingly, this invasive surgical procedure involves reducing the size of your periodontal pockets, limiting the number of bacteria which can become trapped there.
Periodontal pocket reduction
Periodontal pocket reductions are almost always performed under a local anesthetic, which means that you should feel no discomfort during your procedure. If you have severe dental anxiety, speak to Dr. Sam and the team to see if sedation is a possibility for you.
The process itself is very straightforward. An incision will be made into the gum so that the gum tissue can be folded back to expose the bacteria. This can then be adequately cleaned away, before replacing the gun tissue and securing it in place. It will then reattach itself back to the healthy bone.
Taking good care of your gums will help you to preserve a healthy smile. By attending your regularly scheduled appointments with your hygienist, you will be able to keep your periodontal pockets bacteria-free and help maintain great oral health. You will give Dr. Sam and the team the opportunity to keep a close eye on the depth of your periodontal pockets, meaning prompt action can be taken if and when required.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the health of your gums. Dr. Sam and the team have the experience and skill to provide exceptional quality periodontal treatments and customer care. If you are concerned about your gums, would like to find out more about periodontal disease, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please get in touch.