How do you measure my gum health?

How do you measure my gum health?

By Brenda, RDH

September is National Gum Care Month! Dental wellness encompasses an entire ecosystem. For a tooth to be healthy it needs to be not just free of cavities or infections, but also supported by healthy gums and bone.  Did you ever wonder how our team keeps tabs on the state of your gums? The answer is: periodontal charting. Periodontal charting is a tried and tested way for dental professionals to measure and track your overall gum health.

During your routine preventative care visits, you may have heard us calling out numbers ranging from 1 to 12. This isn’t a countdown or bingo game; it’s periodontal charting in action! We use a specialized instrument—think of it like a teeny tiny ruler—to gently measure the depth of the pocket between your tooth and gums, in millimeters.

Healthy gums fit snuggly around your teeth and have pockets that usually measure 1-3 millimeter deep. On the other hand, when gums begin to pull away from your teeth, the pocket depth usually measures somewhere between 4-12 millimeters. These deeper pockets can become reservoirs for plaque and bacteria, and may bleed. They are harder to keep clean, and often require some special TLC with deeper and/or more frequent cleanings.

While measuring pocket depth, we also keep an eye out for receding gums. This is when the gums begin to retract, exposing your teeth’s more fragile roots. The result? Increased sensitivity and susceptibility to disease.

In the journey towards optimal dental health, knowledge is power. Regular periodontal charting gives us the valuable data we need to take action before minor issues escalate into significant challenges. Rest assured, we are here to guide you every step of the way—from understanding the numbers to tailoring personalized treatment plans.

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