What are deep pockets when it comes to dental health? Deep pockets, or periodontal pockets, are when there are spaces around the gum line that have become infected.
Deep pockets create a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. This can spread infection to the bone and structure around the teeth, potentially leading to gum disease or tooth loss. Deep pockets are aptly named, as they literally look and feel like “pockets” around your teeth.
You might be worried about having deep pockets, and what this could potentially mean about your overall oral health. The following advice will help to determine the causes and prevention of deep pockets in gums.
What are the causes of deep pockets
When bacteria forms in our mouths, it can create a sticky film of plaque on our teeth, especially around the gum area. This eventually hardens, if not removed properly, and bacteria can cause inflammation. When this continually happens, deep pockets form between the gums and the teeth. The longer it’s left, the worse the situation becomes, as bacteria grows in the pockets and they become deeper.
Do I have deep pockets?
The main way to know if you have deep pockets in your gums is to attend regular dentist appointments. Your dentist will examine your mouth and identify whether deep pockets are forming and whether they could become problematic. If deep pockets are determined, your dentist will measure them alongside levels of bleeding to assess the situation.
What treatments are available?
Treating deep pockets depends on the severity of the situation. In the early stages, your dentist will give a professional clean of your mouth, which will get rid of the plaque and tartar that causes the pockets to form and trap bacteria. However, if you have missed several dentist appointments and the situation has become more severe, your dentist may be looking at ways of treating gingivitis or gum disease, not simply the deep pockets themselves. This might involve root planing, which is a deep clean underneath the gums which gets rid of the bacteria in the root of the teeth. In other situations, periodontal surgery may be needed, or an infected tooth may need to be removed.
What can I do?
It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene, and doing so will help the prevention of deep pockets forming. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a clean toothbrush and flossing throughout the day. This will prevent the build-up of food in your mouth which attracts unwanted bacteria. You can also prevent the formation of deep pockets by keeping an eye on your diet and general health. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar will prevent the buildup of plaque, as will avoiding fizzy drinks or too much caffeine. Likewise, nicotine in cigarettes can have a detrimental effect on oral hygiene, so quitting smoking is always recommended. Making sure you attend regular dentist appointments is also key to spotting any issues early and ensuring that you receive the correct treatment.
Worried about deep pockets in your gum? Book an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible!