Do Gum Pockets Hide Infectious Germs?

Periodontitis Reveals It’s Time to See a Dentist

The formation of pockets on your gums is not healthy. Most likely, before this occurs your gums have already started receding. This indicates that you have a gum disease called periodontitis and you need to see a periodontist dentist quickly in order to save your gums and teeth.


How Gum Disease Starts

Before the pockets begin to form on your gums, it is likely that you will develop gingivitis. This milder form of gum disease occurs because bacteria found naturally in your mouth start increasing due to improper teeth care, caused by a lack of brushing and flossing. The bacteria start forming between the teeth and form plaque. This will later harden if not removed and forms tartar. 


Symptoms of Early Gum Disease

As you start to develop gum disease, gingivitis will be revealed by the following symptoms. You will most likely have bleeding gums, gums that are red, bad breath that does not go away, and gums that are receding. 

If you start taking care of your teeth by brushing regularly and flossing once a day, gingivitis will usually disappear. This will enable you to have healthy gums once again. 


Developing Periodontitis

If you continue to ignore the early stages of gum disease, the next stage is that it becomes periodontal disease. This is the stage you want to avoid. 

If the improper care of your teeth is allowed to continue, pockets will begin to form on your gums. These pockets form below the gum line and will soon become filled with the bacteria that destroys your teeth. Your toothbrush will not reach into these pockets to clean out the bacteria. 


Further Stages of Gum Disease

Your inflamed gums will continue to get worse and the gum infection will grow larger. There may be pus seen at your gum line, and you may have sores in your mouth. Your gums will continue receding making your teeth look longer. You may also experience painful chewing.

As periodontitis progresses, the bacteria begins to attack the very tissue and structures that hold your teeth in place. Even the bone in your jaw will become weaker and smaller. Eventually your teeth will become loose and begin to fall out. 


Diagnosing Periodontitis

When you go into a dentist’s office to be diagnosed for periodontal disease, the dentist will look at your teeth, and will use a periodontal probe to measure how deep each periodontal pocket has become. If they are four or more millimeters in depth, it means that some destruction of the gums and bone loss has begun. 

If the pockets extend to more than six millimeters in depth, and there are two of them in a row, along with a third tooth with a depth of at least five millimeters, this is classified as severe periodontitis. An x-ray will also be taken if the dentist suspects that you may have already had some bone loss. 


People at Risk of Developing Periodontitis

Some people have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. The CDC reports that as many as 47.2 percent of adults who are 30 or older already have it. Other risk factors include, smoking, diabetes, stress, having defective fillings, female hormonal changes, substance abuse, obesity, heredity, dry mouth (may be caused by medications), and more. The CDC also reports that as many as 70.1 percent of seniors over the age of 65 have it. 


Why Treating Periodontitis Is Very Important

After realizing that you have signs of gingivitis or periodontal gum disease, you need to either begin better oral hygiene, or seek gum disease treatment. In recent studies, the Mayo Clinic says that researchers have connected it to the development of other very serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and stroke. 


Dental Care for Periodontitis

Treatment for periodontitis is performed by a dentist who specializes in it. After being diagnosed for it, a periodontal dentist will recommend either non-surgical or surgical procedures for the treatment. The good news is that proper dental care for your teeth may enable you to avoid needing further treatment. 


Non-surgical Procedures

Dental cleaning is the easiest procedure. After plaque has become tartar, it cannot be removed by a toothbrush. Removing it above and below your gum line will remove the bacteria that hide in it. 

Scaling and root planing is a deeper periodontal treatment procedure. It removes plaque and tartar above and below the gum line and also smooths out rough spots on your teeth, where bacteria hide. It also enables your gums to reattach to the gums easier. 

Another treatment is to place antibiotics in the pockets. 


Surgical Procedures

If the damage from periodontal disease is severe, periodontal surgery may be necessary. This gum surgery will aim at reducing the depth of the pockets that hold the bacteria. Gum and bone tissue grafting may also be necessary, as well as some other specialized treatments. 

While both non-surgical procedures and surgical treatments are available, the best step you can take is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. In most cases, proper dental care consisting of regular brushing and flossing will prevent it while in the early stages. 

If you live in the Carrollton, Grapevine, Cedar Hill or Dallas TX areas, you can visit the offices of Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist. He frequently provides gum disease treatment and periodontal surgery when needed. For a Free consultation you can contact his office today at (214) 731-0123.