Deep Pockets…Not a Good Thing in the Dental World.
As mentioned in previous blogs, the gums and underlying bone are just as important as the actual part of the tooth that you can see in your mouth. They are referred to as the Periodontium. This is the supporting foundation that ‘holds’ onto and supports the roots of the teeth. Think of the tooth as if it were a house and the gums and bone as the foundation of the house.
When we do a dental exam, we check both your teeth and your gums. This blog will focus on the way in which we check the health of your gums and the underlying bone.
Evaluation of the Gums
1) Color: are they pinkish in color or red…we want them to be pink.
2) Are they inflamed and swollen…we want them to be tough and tight.
3) Do the gums bleed when we ‘probe’ around them with a special probing instrument (called a Periodontal Probe)…ideally, they shouldn’t bleed at all.
We want your gums to be pink, tight and not bleed when probed.
Do you remember when we discussed the differences between a rare and medium well-done steak, in a previous blog? The rare steak was red, all puffy and ‘swelled’ and bled quite readily. On the other hand, the medium well-done steak was pink, tight and didn’t bleed. We prefer your gums to be like the latter!
What is a Periodontal Probe?
The above image is of a very common instrument that we use in Dentistry. It is called a ‘Dental Periodontal Probe’.
The probe has lines on it which are calibrated in millimeters and it goes up to 10 mm’s.
As part of the gum and bone (foundation) evaluation, we check to see how deep this probe will go at six points around each tooth. Don’t worry; we’re very careful to make sure that it doesn’t hurt.
We probe around each tooth at six points because we need to know if there are problems with the foundation that holds the roots of the teeth in place.
Imagine a house inspector going around a house and checking that it’s ‘sitting’ on a solid foundation. When we do the dental exam, we’re basically doing the same thing; we’re checking to see that the tooth is anchored strongly into your jaw bone.
The purpose of this blog was to introduce the Periodontal Probe and briefly explain what its purpose was.
In the next entry we’re going to look at what the actual probing measurements mean and why they are such an important part of the dental exam.
Got questions about your oral health? Is it time for a dental checkup? Give us a call in Brampton at (905) 791-3867. We accept new patients, walk-ins and emergencies.
Yours in good health,
Dr. Robert Axelrad