Deep pockets? So what?

You went in for your check-up at the dentist and they mentioned deep pockets.

The hygienist seemed very concerned, but what is the big deal?

You remember hearing the hygenist say something about gum disease and deep pockets, but your mind was on the fifty things on the to-do list that need to get done before the kids get home.

They’re a just deep pocket. So what?

Hygienist told you that you have deep pockets? It doesn't mean that you have lots of money (even if you do). Check out this post to learn what deep pockets mean to you.

How your gums are evaluated

Typically, when you go to see the dentist for a check-up, in addition to checking your teeth for cavities, your gums are checked as well.

Using, what dentist call, a probe your gums are measured to check for deep pockets.

 When you hear the hygienist say numbers like one, two and three while measuring your gums, know that is healthy and normal.  Once your hygienist starts saying 4, there is likely a problem. And anything five and over is an issue that needs to be addressed.

These numbers represent how deep the space between your teeth and gum in millimeters.  The millimeters pockets, the bigger the problem is because you are not able to efficiently clean the gum line when you have deep pockets.


Why are deep pockets an issue?

When I talk about deep pockets, I am talking about the space between the teeth and the gums. These pockets can be challenging and almost impossible to keep clean yourself if they are deep.  

If you are unable to get in and efficiently clean those pockets, bacteria now have a perfect place to hide.

Especially if your oral hygiene is not the best, this becomes a perfect environment for the bacteria to begin the infectious process of gum disease.


What is gum disease?

Gum disease is an inflammatory process caused by bacteria that destroys the jawbone and tissue that supports the teeth.

It starts off as gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums due to the toxins produced in plaque.

Over time, gingivitis progresses into gum disease as the bacteria and toxins get below the gum line and trigger the inflammatory response of gum disease.  As a result, the body turns on itself and begins the destruction of the jaw bone and surrounding tissue.

Typically the infectious process of gum disease is a slow destructive process.  But there are times when the process is accelerated.

As the infection progress, the gums pull away from the teeth form pockets that your hygienist mentioned. 

Over time these pockets get deeper and more gum tissue and bone is destroyed.  Eventually, teeth become loose and have to be removed.


Why is gum disease a problem?

The obvious problem with gum disease is tooth loss.  Gum disease plays a major role in adults losing teeth.

The bigger problem with gum disease is the link that it has to other diseases. You think “Oh, it’s only in my mouth, it’s no big deal.”

But it is a big deal. There are links between gum disease and other diseases like:

  • heart disease
  • respiratory disease
  • diabetes
  • low birth weight
  • impotence

Deep pockets are something that you should address before it is too late.  If your dentist and hygienist have told you that you have gum disease and need a deep cleaning don’t wait because nothing is bothering you.  

Remember, gum disease typically is a slow destructive process. Once you do notice that something is wrong, the damage will be severe.


With lots of love,

Dr Toni


Hygienist told you that you have deep pockets? It doesn't mean that you have lots of money (even if you do). Check out this post to learn what deep pockets mean to you

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