Pants pockets are wonderful, useful things. Gum pockets aren’t. In fact, when pockets form in the gums, it can be downright dangerous for your teeth. These periodontal pockets are a sign of gum disease and an indication that you need to act now to prevent additional troubles. Fortunately, the right periodontal treatment offers a chance to reverse the damage, eliminate the pocket, and save you money.
Understanding Periodontal Pocket Basics
When bacteria sits on your teeth for too long, it hardens into plaque. Over time, plaque transforms into tartar. No matter how diligently you brush or floss, you cannot remove tartar from your teeth. That’s a problem because tartar offers a handy base for more bacteria to cling to, which can trigger more inflammation and swelling in your gums. As inflammation lingers, it encourages gum disease. To make matters worse, the combination of inflammation and gum disease can prompt gum tissue to pull away from teeth. As your gum pulls away, it creates a pocket of space. This pocket is called a periodontal pocket, gingival pocket, or dental pocket. This becomes a breeding ground for additional bacteria causing bone decay if not treated quickly.
When periodontal pockets are present, they offer a place for bacteria, plaque, and tartar to hide. Even food debris can slip inside to cause irritation and infection. A periodontal pocket can increase your risk of tooth loss by weakening the tooth’s support structure.
Exploring Periodontal Pocket Treatment
How is a periodontal pocket treated? It depends on the severity of the pocket. You may be prescribed topical or oral antibiotics to eliminate an infection. If you have multiple pockets, your dentist may suggest a scaling and root planing treatment. This is a professional deep cleaning that removes tartar from both traditionally cleaned areas and root surfaces in hopes that the gums will tighten up afterward. In more severe cases, surgical treatments may be required to close up the pockets.
Preventing Periodontal Pocket Development
Dentists often advise patients that it’s better to prevent gum disease problems than treat them. Thankfully, the same steps that you take to care for your teeth can prevent gum pockets and your gums healthy:
- Maintain a good oral healthcare routine at home. Brush, floss, and use mouthwash every day.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush gently along the gumline to clean without irritating the gum tissues.
- If you use an electric toothbrush, resist the urge to brush too hard. Instead, brush gently along your gum line to remove plaque.
- Replace your manual toothbrush or toothbrush head every three months or whenever it wears out.
- Use a toothpaste that offers tartar control and fluoride.
- Include a mouthwash to help protect your gums and the spaces between teeth.
- If you are already performing these steps and still developing periodontal pockets, your dentist can recommend a Waterpik or other dental products.
- Keep your appointments for dental checkups and cleanings. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar. They also offer invaluable assessments of your oral health.
The goal is to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you feel any discomfort, see a dentist immediately. At Wekiva Dental, we’re passionate about healthy smiles. We offer a wide array of general and cosmetic dentistry services so that we can help you get and maintain your perfect smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.