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Math during an Oral Exam? What Your Dentist is Really Saying?

Have you ever sat through a dental appointment and heard your dentist or hygienist rambling off a bunch of numbers that you had no idea what they meant? It just seemed to go on and on for about 5 minutes? If so, that was your periodontal exam. Each number represented one of six areas per tooth and is used to create a periodontal pocket chart that your dentist uses to monitor your oral health.

Here’s everything you need to know about a periodontal pocket chart.

It’s a baseline reading that tracks gum disease.
Probing charts are used to record the depth of the gum “pocket” around your tooth. The bottom of the pocket is where gum tissue is physically attached to the tooth. This gives a good idea of where the bone levels are as well. If pockets become deeper between appointments, it is an indicator that bacteria is causing the gums to detach (and bone loss to occur.)

Numbers that are larger than a “3” are considered unhealthy.
Healthy gum pockets are between 0-3mm deep. If they are 4mm or deeper, it is indicative of gum detachment caused by bacteria. Bone loss follows the gum detachment, and if it becomes severe, the tooth can become mobile and even fall out.

There’s only one way to reverse a gum pocket to make it healthier.
Routine flossing (or using a water flosser) is the only way to remove plaque under the gums between your teeth. Otherwise, these bacteria will cause more gum detachment. There will also be areas that you cannot reach, which is why routine cleanings twice a year are so important.

Maybe you have never had a periodontal pocket chart done, or cannot remember the last time you did. If that is the case, it is time to visit Back Bay Dental Care. We perform a periodontal charting at least once each year to prevent gum disease and help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

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