At a recent cleaning, you probably went through a process whereby the dental hygienist took a probe tool and poked your gums around your teeth. As he or she went, he/she announced a number aloud and another hygienist or dental assistant recorded the numbers announced. You have probably wondered about these numbers, why the hygienist does this, and what the numbers mean. Here is more on that.
Everyone who still has their own teeth has gingival pockets. These are little areas around your teeth where a floating pool of saliva, bacteria, acids, and food particles are just sitting and swimming. Flossing helps empty these pockets of some of the nastier stuff. The pockets exist to allow your gums to expand and contract from inflammation and/or the stuff that is stuck in your teeth. Unfortunately, improper oral hygiene causes the pockets to decrease in depth and pull away from your teeth.
The Numbers Called out by Your Hygienist
As your hygienist uses a dental probe to check pocket depths around each tooth, he/she calls out a number. The numbers are one, two, three, or four. The higher the number deeper the pocket and the healthier your gums are. If you hear a lot of threes and fours being called out, your gums are doing rather well. Pay attention to when your hygienist calls out ones and twos, and pay attention to which teeth have ones and twos. These are the teeth that have gingival issues, and you may lose these teeth if you do not do better with oral hygiene. It is important to brush and floss more around these teeth.
The Numbers Also Determine Health Risks
A lot of the wrong numbers as they relate to your gingival pockets means that you could have early signs of disease that need to be addressed. If you address any disease early enough, you can reverse it. That is why this particular part of your oral hygiene exam is so important. Your hygienist is playing a role in your overall oral health that can help you keep all of your natural teeth by finding problems and diseases that can be treated. If your hygienist and dentist tell you that there is clearly a problem with your gums, you need to follow their treatment plan very closely until your dentist tells you that you can stop the treatment. If and when that happens, the signs of disease are gone and you are cured.
For more information, contact a business such as Legacy Dental Arts.