When it comes to your gum health your numbers tell a story. The most common numbers are periodontal pockets measured in millimeters.
What are pockets?
Your bone and gum tissue should be well adapted around your teeth. When you have gum disease, this tissue and bone is destroyed, forming gaps or “pockets” around the teeth. These pockets can only be detected and recorded during a periodontal examination and cannot be seen on x-rays. If left untreated, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space in which bacteria can live. The deeper the pocket, the more difficult it becomes for regular brushing and flossing and even routine dental cleanings to reach all of the bacteria. As these “leftover” bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Once bone loss is detected on an x-ray, the pocket is usually quite deep. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted. Typically healthy measurements are in the 1 to 3 mm range prior to any disease related breakdown. Because periodontal disease can go undetected due to the absence of signs or symptoms, it can be a very silent reason for tooth loss.