A periodontal pocket is a deep space that forms between the roots of the teeth and the gums. Periodontal pockets are created when bacteria grows in the gums around the teeth roots, and gum disease develops.
As bacteria continues to build, it forms plaque. When the plaque builds, it becomes tartar. Tartar is extremely challenging to remove without professional dental help, and it often requires specialized tools to completely scrape off the tartar.
When tartar builds on the teeth above the gumline, it can be removed by a regular dental cleaning. When tartar starts to build below the gumline, this is when a deep periodontal pocket forms—and this is when it’s critical to visit a periodontist.
What do periodontal pockets look like?
With healthy teeth and gums, the space between the gum tissue and tooth root is about 1 mm to 3 mm. When the gum tissue starts to recede from the teeth roots and the spaces widen to about 3 mm to 5 mm wide, this is a periodontal pocket.
When a periodontal pocket is present, the gums appear inflamed and reddened, and there are visible gaps between the teeth and gums.
Periodontal Pocket Symptoms
Here’s what you may experience if you have a periodontal pocket:
- Inflamed, red gums
- Swollen, puffy gums
- Tender, painful gums
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Bleeding when brushing the teeth or flossing
- Loose teeth
- Increasing gaps between the teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible! We need to assess the condition of your gums and create a treatment plan to help you preserve your natural teeth and the remaining healthy gum tissue.
Periodontal Pockets Treatment
Once you visit our experienced orthodontists for an assessment, we’ll determine the best treatment method moving forward.
We offer periodontal pocket reduction surgery for mild to moderate cases. During this procedure, our goal is to reduce the depth of the pockets to a point where they’re able to be cleaned with your regular oral hygiene routine.
For severe cases, we may suggest flap and osseous surgery. Because advanced gum disease can change the shape of the teeth and cause bone deterioration, some cases require surgery to separate the gum tissue from the bone and create a flap. This way, we’re able access deeper areas of plaque and tartar, making it possible to reshape the bone and reduce the areas where bacteria grow.
If we catch gum disease in the very early stages, we may be able to perform a scaling and root planing procedure to clean the teeth root surfaces under the gums and remove bacteria that build up in pockets. That’s why it’s essential that we catch these pockets early enough to avoid the need for a more complex treatment.
How to Shrink Gum Pockets Naturally
The best way to treat periodontal pockets is to prevent these pockets. If the pockets aren’t too far progressed, there are ways that you can try to treat the pockets at home while you schedule your appointment with us.
To clean your gums, mix three-fourths of a teaspoon of salt with a lukewarm glass of water. Gargle this mixture for about 30 seconds. This can help to clean out the pockets and alleviate some symptoms.
Take measures to prevent the pockets from worsening too:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to fight harmful bacteria.
- Visit your dentist for regular cleanings to minimize plaque and tartar.
- Stop smoking! Smoking tobacco severely inhibits your body’s ability to heal and repair itself.
Still have questions about periodontal pockets?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We love to hear from you, and we’re here to support you and your gums!