Periodontal pockets or gum pockets show periodontal disease. This is an advanced inflammation of the gums that is often discovered late. Find here, how gum pockets are forming and what you can do about it.
Most patients associate a visit to the dentist with tooth decay, but gum disease is also common. About 80% of adults have gum disease. The first signs are bleeding gums.
The inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is initially painless. In the advanced stage, deep gum pockets form and periodontitis develop. To prevent the disease from worsening, the bags must be professionally cleaned.
How are gingival pockets made?
Periodontitis is an inflammation of the teeth supporting structures. Bacteria cause this inflammatory disease. It is usually chronic and is often discovered late.
Structure of the tooth support system
The periodontium comprises the gums, the jawbone, the root surface of the teeth, and exceptionally fine fibers that connect the tooth and bone. The teeth are not rigidly attached to the bone but are suspended by the thin fibers in the jawbone.
Without treatment, gingivitis can spread. The bacterial infection attacks the fibers and the jawbone. The body breaks down the inflamed tissue. Gum pockets develop between the tooth and the gum.
The deeper these gum pockets get, the more difficult they are to clean. As soon as the infection affects the entire periodontium, it calls periodontal disease.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontitis has different causes. Most of the time there is not a single cause responsible for the onset of the disease. However, bacterial deposits are always involved. The bacteria always cause inflammation of the gums.
Sometimes, this gum inflammation persists. However, if poor oral hygiene and other triggers come together, periodontitis can break out. The most common causes include:
- weakened immune system
- Lifestyle / Smoking
- Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
- genetic diseases (Down syndrome, Crohn’s disease, …)
- hormonal changes (menopause)
- general diseases (rheumatism, diabetes mellitus, …)
- bacterial plaque with poor oral hygiene
- genetic predisposition
Not everyone who has poor oral hygiene will also develop periodontal disease. Often, the immune system can fight the bacteria and prevent the inflammation from spreading.
Symptoms of gum pockets
The chronic inflammation of the gums is usually painless. That is why it is often discovered late. Early symptoms include bleeding gums and recurring gum infections. These symptoms are often absent in smokers because nicotine reduces blood flow to the gums.
Other symptoms can be sensitive teeth. They occur when the gums recede, and it exposes the sensitive tooth necks. Advanced periodontal disease can lead to bad breath and a purulent taste, and tooth loosening and loss.
The symptoms of periodontitis briefly:
- exposed tooth necks because of receding gums
- Bleeding gums
- unpleasant taste / smell
- Tooth loosening
- Tooth loss
- Shrinkage of the jawbone
- Swelling of the gums
General medical dangers of periodontal disease
Besides the inflammatory processes in the mouth, periodontal disease also has general health risks. The bacteria can spread throughout the body. There they can have grave consequences. It relates periodontitis to the following diseases:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Cardiovascular diseases: heart attacks, strokes
- Renal failure because of atherosclerosis
- Tumor diseases
- Erectile dysfunction
- Premature births
To prevent any effects on the body, must have long-lasting inflammation of the gums clarified with your dentist.
What helps against gum pockets?
The treatment of chronic gingivitis is cleaning the gum pockets.
If you want to prevent gum inflammation yourself, maintain good oral hygiene. Oral hygiene is a must to remove plaque.
Bacteria live in plaque and cause gingivitis and tooth decay. Also, clean your gums. Brushing your teeth is not enough.
To clean the gums between the teeth, use dental floss or interdental brushes every day. Professional teeth cleaning once or twice a year gives you additional protection.
Treatment at the dentist
Once periodontitis has broken out, it can no longer be cured. Only the progression can be prevented. With the Periodontal Screening Index, the dentist can quickly determine how far the disease has progressed. An additional x-ray of the jaw shows you the course of the jawbone. It requires treatment from a gingival pocket depth of 3.5 mm.
Two pre-treatments must be carried out before the actual treatment. First, we measure the depths of all gum pockets. Besides, it records all additional risk factors. Then the tooth surfaces and the gums are cleaned. These treatments are like professional teeth cleaning and must be paid for by the patient.
Then an application for reimbursement of costs is submitted to the statutory health insurance. Your dentist will do this for you. After approval, the actual treatment of the periodontal disease takes place. They clean all gingival pockets with fine instruments under local anesthesia. This removes bacterial plaque, tartar, and inflammatory tissue.
What is the course of periodontal disease?
At the beginning of the periodontitis this is very normal. Most patients first complain of inflamed gums (gingivitis). If they leave the gingivitis untreated or if it heals on its own, the inflammation spreads to the periodontium. Gingivitis turns into periodontitis.
The body tries to fight the inflammation and activates the immune system. The inflammatory cells now also attack the affected bone. It also breaks the fibers between the bone and the tooth down. The gum pockets get deeper and deeper.
If left untreated, it can lead to extreme bone loss with tooth loosening and tooth loss.
So, if you are concerned about gum pockets, visit your dentist. He can quickly and painlessly determine what is wrong with you.