Periodontal pockets are spaces or open gaps that surround the teeth beneath the gums. These are the symptoms of periodontal disease (gum disease). It is categorized as a severe oral infection when the pocket is filled with infectious bacteria. Periodontal pockets can be reversed with treatments of good oral hygiene. However, left untreated can lead to permanent tooth loss.
When you have gum disease, the tissues can create gaps that capture and harbor bacteria to cause damage to the jaw bone. Periodontist uses millimeters measurements to diagnose the severity because not all pockets are considered harmful. Periodontal pockets are diagnosed by measuring the size of the space between the gums and teeth using a periodontal probe.
• 1 to 3 mm is considered normal
• 4 to 5 mm is early to mild periodontitis, the first stage of gum disease
• 5 to 7 mm is a moderate stage of periodontitis
• 7 to 12 mm is an advanced stage of periodontitis
Pockets begin to develop when the gum infection is caused by plaque buildup. Plaque is sticky films consist of bacteria and food debris on the enamel of the teeth. Plaque can be removed with proper oral hygiene of brushing and flossing. When plaque is left untreated, it can cause several harms to your oral health, such as inflammation, infection, tartar, dental calculus, and further development of gum disease. The plaque will continue to tear down the gum tissue causing the pockets around the teeth.
Treatment for periodontal pockets includes professional cleaning, scaling and root planing, or pocket reduction surgery. The most effective ways to prevent these pockets is by brushing your teeth (twice daily) with a soft-bristle toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste, plaque fighting mouthwash, flossing, chewing sugar-free gum, eliminate sugar food and beverages, avoid junk food, stop tobacco usage, and regularly see your dentist for professional teeth cleaning.