If your smile is in good shape, you may rarely give any thought to your gums. You may regard them simply as the frame that helps to keep your teeth in place. If you develop gum disease, though, you may begin to worry about periodontal pockets. What exactly are periodontal pockets, and what can you do to get rid of them? Continue reading to learn some valuable information.
What Are Periodontal Pockets?
Healthy gums are firmly attached to the teeth. However, that can change if gum disease develops. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue, which starts when plaque (a bacteria-filled biofilm) accumulates along the gumline. Eventually, plaque hardens into tartar, which in turn can lead to inflammation and swelling in the gum tissue. As time goes on, the infection may worsen and gradually cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. Hence, pockets form.
Without treatment, periodontal pockets tend to worsen over time. Normal brushing and flossing may not be able to reach within the pockets to get rid of the bacteria that collect in them. Even worse, as the gums pull away from the teeth, the underlying bone may lose some of its mass. As a result, the teeth can become loose — they might even fall out altogether! In fact, advanced gum disease is one of the top causes of tooth loss among adults in the United States.
What Can You Do About Periodontal Pockets?
If you ever notice any signs or symptoms of gum disease, such as redness or swelling in your gums, you should seek professional care right away. This is especially urgent if you see that your gums are beginning to pull away from your teeth.
You might need to undergo a procedure known as scaling and root planing. Essentially, it is a deep cleaning of the mouth, wherein your periodontal team will remove tartar, plaque, and bacteria from both above and below the gumline. Once the bacteria are gone, your gums can start to heal and reattach to your teeth.
Of course, depending on the specifics of your situation, other treatments might be necessary. For example, you might need antibiotic therapy or even surgical intervention.
Is There Any Way to Prevent Periodontal Pockets?
For most people, periodontal pockets can be prevented via a few simple steps:
- Stick to a thorough oral hygiene routine.
- Be gentle when you are flossing and brushing.
- Do not smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco, or overconsume alcoholic beverages.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- See your general dentist every six months for preventive care.
Periodontal pockets are a serious problem! Do what you can to address this issue so you can enjoy a healthy smile.
Meet the Practice
Dr. Zachary Carnow is a board-certified periodontist (dentist who specializes in gum health). He has extensive experience in addressing gum disease and periodontal pockets, and he is a member of numerous prestigious organizations. If you are concerned about the state of your gums, he and our team are ready to serve you. Contact our Frisco office at 214-619-4990.