While “deep pockets” are a blessing in the financial world, they are a curse in the dental world. Discovered by using a small instrument with 3-millimeter increments (a perio probe), the measurement is used to diagnose periodontal disease.
WHAT IS A PERIODONTAL POCKET?
Our teeth are anchored in boney sockets. When a particular type of bacteria get into the gumline surrounding a tooth, it can destroy this supporting bone. When tartar builds up below the gumline, the structure harbors greater and greater amounts of microorganisms and leads to a low-grade, chronic infection. Eventually, so much bone is destroyed that the tooth becomes loose and may even fall out.
Treatment is aimed at removing the microorganisms that colonate the pocket. A dental professional will use ultrasonic and hand instruments to remove the tartar that harbors the bacteria. They must also remove the diseased soft tissue lining the pocket . The gum tissue should then heal and the pocket depth lessened.
If conventional methods fail to get results, a dentist may cut a “window” of gum tissue and reflect it back so that they can remove the deep debris around the teeth. The dentist may then also reshape the bone that is left so that the gum heals and allows the patient to clean the teeth thoroughly.