So you come in for a dental exam and the dentist or hygienist is poking around all of your teeth and typing or calling out numbers… what is up with that? This is periodontal charting – they are taking a measurement of the suculus, or periodontal pocket depth. There is a natural space or “pocket” between the gums and the side tooth surface around each tooth (called the suculus), and the dept of these pockets says a lot about your oral health.
A deep pocket usually becomes an easy place for oral bacteria to hide and take up residence. These bacteria, over time, cause inflammation and damage to the surrounding tissues. Here are how those measurement relate to various categories of periodontal fitness or disease:
A normal pocket dept is 1-3 millimeters. The surrounding gum tissue will be pink or coral in color and firm, resilient, and healthy. Healthy gums will not bleed.
The presence of inflamed gums and bleeding gums, can indicate gingivitis and usually pocket depths will be 3-4 millimeters. Supporting bone is still intact at this stage.
Pocket depth or 4-5mm indicates a slight periodontitis. Inflammation of the surrounding tissue and slight bone loss are indicated., but teeth will likely not be lose at this stage.
A 5-6mm reading will indicate moderate periodontitis and a more serve level of bone and tissue destruction. Slight tooth mobility may be seen.
Severe periodontitis will exhibit 7mm pockets (or more), as much of the supporting bone has been lost and tooth mobility will be extreme. Eventual tooth loss is common at this stage.
Taking these measurements help determine the periodontal condition of your teeth and helps the dental care team determine what treatments will best improve or maintain the health and vitality of your teeth, gums, and bone. Special procedure, deep cleanings, medications, mouthwashes, or toothpastes may be recommended for deeper pocket depths, as well as maintaining a proper home hygiene routine.
Recommendations for maintaining an already healthy mouth is typically to consistently brush twice daily for two full minutes with a soft-bristled brush, and pay special attention to brushing along the gum line at a 45-degree angle. As well as flossing at least once per day, using a “C” shape and going all the way up and down each inner surface several times to thoroughly clean each side of each tooth.
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry we want to help you keep your teeth and mouth as a hole as healthy as can be, and these measurement are an essential part of making the best treatment plan for you. It’s all part of keeping your mouth healthy and your smile bright!