Category: 

What are Gum Pockets?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In late 19th-century London, mail was delivered to residential addresses up to twelve times each day.   more...

September 28 ,  1924 :  Two US military planes complete the first flights around the world.  more...

Gum pockets are spaces between the edges of the gums and the teeth. Healthy patients typically have very small gum pockets, reflecting the presence of healthy, strong connective tissue. People with periodontal disease will experience an increase in the size of the gum pockets, caused by breakdown of the collagen used to keep the gums fixed in place. This can be dangerous to the patient's health, as each pocket can trap infectious material and contribute to tooth decay and other oral health problems.

When people go to the dentist for checkups, one of the things the dentist will do is assess the health of the gums, also known as the gingiva. A tool called a periodontal probe can be inserted into the gum pockets to see if they are unusually deep or have changed size since the last visit. The doctor will also look for evidence of receding gums, along with other warning signs like puffiness and redness around the gums.

The deeper the gum pockets, the more detritus they can collect. People with periodontal disease will accumulate food debris, bacteria, and other materials. These can create infections, resulting in bone loss around the jaw and teeth, loss of the protective outer layers of the teeth, and damage to the gums themselves. Left untreated, the consequences can be severe. Patients may lose their teeth and can experience complications like bacteremia, where bacteria enter the bloodstream and expose the patient to the risk of sepsis.

Ad

If a dentist identifies deep gum pockets and other signs of gum disease, interventions can be offered. These may include changing dental hygiene habits, increasing the amount of brushing and flossing. Special mouthwash can be used to keep the mouth healthy, and patients may also need to make dietary modifications. Patients will also need careful cleanings and frequent checkups. In some cases, surgery may be required, although the goal is to identify gum disease before it requires surgical treatment.

Dentists will note the depth of the gum pockets on patient charts for future reference. If the pockets start to get deep quickly, the doctor will want to find out why. If they shrink, it shows that a patient is responding to treatment for gum disease and the health of the gums is starting to improve. Over time, the connective tissue can recover, providing more protection to the teeth and jaw. The patient will still need to be vigilant about dental care to prevent a recurrence of disease.

Ad

You might also Like

Recommended

Discuss this Article

Post your comments

exception 'Exception' with message 'error writing captcha: Duplicate entry '2147483647' for key 'PRIMARY'' in /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/_core/classes/public/Captcha.php:44
Stack trace:
#0 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/_core/controls/public/ControlDiscussionPostBox.php(324): Captcha->createCaptcha()
#1 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/Control.php(104): ControlDiscussionPostBox->preRender(false)
#2 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/Control.php(149): Control->render()
#3 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/tpl/default-nocustom-lu/pages/public/article/article.htm(526): Control->__toString()
#4 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/Control.php(300): require('/ssd/www/wisege...')
#5 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/Control.php(309): Control->requireTpl('pages/public/ar...', Object(PageArticleCom), true)
#6 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/Control.php(131): Control->renderTpl('pages/public/ar...', Object(PageArticleCom))
#7 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/FormDataControl.php(87): Control->renderTemplate()
#8 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/Control.php(109): FormDataControl->renderTemplate()
#9 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/ScriptPage.php(50): Control->render(false)
#10 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/Control.php(149): ScriptPage->render()
#11 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/framework/classes/Page.php(97): Control->__toString()
#12 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/_core/classes/public/PublicFrontController.php(443): Page->processRequest()
#13 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/_core/classes/public/PublicFrontController.php(7): PublicFrontController->renderPage()
#14 /ssd/www/wisegeek/public_html/index.php(11): PublicFrontController::run()
#15 {main}