What Are Periodontal Pockets?

young woman wearing glasses covers her mouth with both hand to hide periodontal pockets

Have you ever heard of the phrase “periodontal pockets”? You may or may not have heard it said by either a hygienist or dentist during one of your dental visits. “Periodontal” refers to the structures that support the teeth, and is often used to refer to the gums. So periodontal pockets are the same as pockets in the gums. In this blog post, we tackle how those pockets develop and why it’s important to keep an eye on them.

Periodontal Pockets 101

Periodontal pockets are when there is a space or gap between the teeth and the gum line. Normally gums don’t have these pockets and instead hold teeth snugly in place.

These pockets are something to watch, because it’s easy for bacteria to get trapped there, leading to an infection. Periodontal pockets are a common symptom of gum disease, and if left untreated, can cause tooth loss.

Measuring Periodontal Pockets

When you go in for a dental check-up, your hygienist or dentist might check the size of your periodontal pockets with a special tool. You may hear them calling out different numbers as they move from tooth to tooth. What they’re saying is the measurement in millimeters. One to three millimeters are considered normal size while seven to 12 millimeters is considered advanced periodontitis (gum disease).

Treating Periodontal Pockets

The good news is that periodontal pockets can be treated. For starters, brushing and flossing daily with the right technique will do wonders for lowering your risk of gum disease. If your periodontal pockets are more severe in depth, there are a variety of treatments available including a deep cleaning also called a scaling and root planing, or surgery.

Periodontal Care at Three Creek Dentistry

Have more questions related to your gum health? Or maybe you’re worried about your periodontal pockets? Three Creek Dentistry is here to help! We provide periodontal care as part of our large suite of services. Just call or email us today to set up your appointment.


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