When someone asks you if you have deep pockets in your dental office, you may think they are referring to the cost of your care. But this is usually not the case. They are probably asking about the tissue pockets around the base of your teeth. These pockets result from periodontal disease, which your dentist will need to treat as quickly as possible. What are these deep pockets, and what are the causes? Read on for more information.
What Are The Deep Pockets Around Your Teeth?
When you have healthy gums, your gum tissues are firm and pink and connect around the roots and up the sides of your teeth. Only a small flap at the top of your gum remains unattached to your tooth. This small flap creates a pocket or a sulcus.
When you visit your dentist for professional cleaning, your dentist or hygienist will often use a dental probe to measure the depths of your sulcus or pockets.
Pockets that exceed this depth indicate the presence of periodontal disease. When caught early, your dentist can often eradicate the condition with a deep cleaning, antibiotics, and other periodontal disease treatments.
When the sulcus becomes more profound, they become more challenging to treat. Failure to address these deep pockets can lead to jawbone damage and tooth loss.
What Causes Deep Sulcus?
Food particles, sugar, and bacteria become lodged in your sulcus when you eat and drink. A good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing dislodges this debris. But if left on your teeth, this plaque accumulates in your mouth and around your teeth. At this stage, you may have a mild form of gum disease or gingivitis.
If left unaddressed, the plaque becomes a hard deposit known as tartar that you can only remove by professional cleaning. The tartar irritates your gums, causing redness, swelling, and bleeding. The tartar and subsequent irritation allow the sulcus to deepen and the bacteria to go further out of reach.
The plaque further attacks the gum tissues and begins eating away at your bone, which in turn causes your pockets to become even more profound. When your gingivitis reaches this point, your dentist will usually diagnose you with periodontal disease and, at its worse point, periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is treatable, but you need to consult a dentist familiar with periodontal disease treatment for severe cases. Your regular dentist may refer you to a periodontist for this level of care. For more information on periodontal disease treatment, contact a professional near you.