Why do hygienists go poking around at your gums?

Why do hygienists go poking around at your gums?

Hygienists use a small periodontal probe to assess the health of your gums, including any signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease, at your regular cleaning appointments.

Gingivitis is gum inflammation. Permanent damage typically hasn’t happened when are first diagnosed with gingivitis and it can be reversed with regular dental visits, brushing twice a day and daily flossing. If gingivitis progresses and goes untreated, it can permanently affect the support around the teeth and cause periodontal (gum) disease.

The probes hygienists use have markings in millimeters (mm) and measure pocket depths around the teeth. Here are what the measurements indicate:

0 – 3 mm & No Bleeding – Healthy gum tissues do not bleed, so just keep up the good work! Your gums look great!

1 – 3 mm & Bleeding – Bleeding gums are an early sign of gingivitis. Better home care, including daily flossing, should get you back on track!

3 – 5 mm – This may be a sign of periodontal disease. We will talk about recommended home care and possibly more frequent dental visits.

5 – 7 mm – This is an indication of bone loss and moderate periodontal disease. More frequent cleanings and additional treatment might be recommended, including a possible referral to a periodontist. Home care will also be discussed.

7 mm + – This shows advanced periodontal disease. A periodontist will be included in your treatment plan to hopefully save any teeth in question.

The measurements are recorded in your patient chart and are reviewed annually. REMEMBER, brushing twice per day and daily flossing can help keep prevent gingivitis and gum disease!

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