Periodontal (gum) disease, caused by the sticky film of bacteria known as “plaque,” is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. With this in mind, it is important to periodically check the health of your gums. To do so, the dentist or hygienist will measure the depth of the “gingival sulcus groove” along the gum line. This measurement is taken with a probe that measures the depth of the groove between the teeth and gum tissue. While measurements of 1-3 millimeters (mm) are considered to be healthy, those over 3 mm may indicate that a pocket is forming, a sign of periodontal disease. Pocket depths over 6 millimeters are a sign of gum disease and the need for treatment.
Chances are that you or a family member has some stage of gum disease. While many adults develop some degree of gum disease as part of the aging process, there are some steps you can take to prevent it. These include thoroughly brushing and flossing every day, eating nutritious meals and avoiding sugary foods, and visiting your dentist twice a year for a thorough cleaning and examination. To schedule an appointment with West Brookfield Dental, please call 508-867-2777. We are located at 9 West Main St., West Brookfield.
P.S. Scaling and root planing (scraping with custom instruments) may be all that is needed to remove bacterial plaque and calculus deposits from gum pockets in the initial stages of gum disease.