What Is A Periodontal Pocket?


What is a periodontal pocket

The human body has an almost complete protective layer with the skin. The skin shields most of the environment and ensures, among other things, that bacteria or other foreign bodies cannot penetrate into the bloodstream. However, there are exceptions that break through this protective layer, for example, the nails and the teeth. In order for the underlying tissue to remain protected, nature has developed various protective mechanisms in the course of evolution. Thus, the tissue on the tooth is very dense and very strongly connected to the surrounding tissue. In this way, it forms an almost impermeable barrier for bacteria, which is also due to their structure is particularly difficult to colonize.


Bleeding Gums And Inflammation As The First Warning Signs

However, there is a groove between the cervix and the gums, which is about half a millimeter deep in a healthy person. Due to the dense tissue around the gingival groove, which acts as a closure, there are only a few bacteria to be found there. However, gingivitis (gum inflammation) or periodontitis (tooth inflammation) causes tissue changes. It becomes more permeable and gradually loses its adhesion to the tooth surface. This allows bacteria to settle and multiply more easily on the surface. This leads to an inflammatory reaction of the immune system, which is often perceived by those affected as aching or bleeding gums.


Bleeding Gums And Inflammation As The First Warning Signs

As the inflammation progresses, the gum will increasingly change. It dissolves more and more from the tooth surface and then forms a periodontal pocket. This is particularly critical because bacteria can settle very well in such a periodontal pocket. However, removing them with the toothbrush or flossing is hardly possible anymore. Therefore, dentists recommend having the gums examined at the very first signs of gingivitis. Because the deeper the pockets, the stronger the impact on the surrounding bone tissue, which is increasingly damaged and degraded.


How The Dentist Diagnoses Gum Pockets

The dentist uses a special probe for the examination, with which he can accurately determine the pocket depth. To determine how much the tissue is already damaged, it should be measured at least six points per tooth. The dentist presses the probe carefully into the gingival groove. If he notices escaping blood or pus, this is a sign of an inflammatory change that needs to be treated. However, smokers should not weigh in deceptively certainty if bleeding does not occur during gum examinations. Because nicotine narrows the fine blood vessels in the gums so that it is poorly supplied with blood. That’s why the dentist not only checks the gum pockets, but also the gum line for signs of inflammation.


If there are signs of inflammatory processes in the periodontal pockets, X-rays of the affected areas must be made in order to better assess and evaluate the situation. Only then can the dentist say for sure how far z. B. the bone loss has already advanced, and decide which therapy is useful or necessary. If necessary, tissue samples can be microbiologically examined in the laboratory, eg. B. to determine a suitable antibiotic.


Fast And Thorough Treatment Protects Teeth And Jawbones

When the diagnosis is complete, it’s time for treatment. At the beginning there is always an initial periodontitis therapy in which the periodontal pockets are first mechanically cleaned and, if necessary, treated with an antibiotic. The dentist uses a so-called scaler, with which the bacterial plaque is carefully scraped off. This treatment is done under local anesthesia. Although painless, it is still uncomfortable for many patients. The periodontal pocket is then rinsed and, if necessary, supplied with an antibiotic ointment.

At the earliest after six weeks, a follow-up examination can determine whether the situation has stabilized and improved or whether further measures may be required. In severe cases, for example, the chronically inflamed gums can be surgically removed by an oral surgeon and new tissue resettled.


Can You Protect Yourself From Gum Pockets?

The best and most effective prevention is daily thorough oral and dental care. With a toothbrush, the tough biofilm on the teeth and the gumline can be mechanically removed, provided that the toothbrush is guided without pressure and always from the tooth to the gum. Hard bristles or excessive pressure can injure the gums and cause permanent damage. Also, the toothbrush should be replaced regularly, every three months at the latest, so that the bristles themselves do not become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, which enter the mouth each time they brush their teeth and increase the risk of inflammation.

To clean the interdental spaces, regular flossing or interdental brushing should be used. This can also reach the places that are too narrow for the toothbrush. It is important that when cleaning the interdental spaces, the gums are not injured.

In addition, experts recommend having a professional dental cleaning performed by the dentist at least once a year. Here, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned mechanically and pads removed, which significantly reduces the risk of periodontitis – according to some studies, by up to 50 percent. The best way to combine professional teeth cleaning with a check-up is to detect any changes in the gums at an early stage.

If deeper gingival pockets are already available, it is still worthwhile to consistently carry out the necessary treatment. Although the pockets do not completely heal beyond a certain pocket depth, periodontal treatment can prevent the disease from progressing further. If left untreated, the jawbone, as well as the gums, would gradually degrade, causing the tooth rooted in it to lose more and more of its grip. As a result, even healthy teeth can fail because they no longer find support in the bone.