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    Thread: 3-4mm gum pockets

    1. #1
      Join Date
      Jan 2009

      Default 3-4mm gum pockets

      Ok, this is really starting to stress me out, but I was wondering, if bone loss shows up on a panoramic x-ray, would a dentist keep the news from a nervous patient so as to not scare them too much early on in their treatment? My hygienist mentioned 3-4mm pockets in my lower front teeth and I'm certain she described it as being gingivitis at this stage, but all the explanations and terms that are used get a bit fuzzy when there is so much going on and so much to think about.

      I have been reading that the early stages of periodontitis can manifest itself with pockets of that size, but for that to be the case, there would also be some indication of bone loss on x-rays. So even though neither my dentist or hygienist has told me that I have bone loss, I'm worried that there may be some that they haven't told me about.

    2. #2
      Join Date
      Oct 2007
      Having a little bit of Gorgonzola with crackers!

      Default Re: 3-4mm gum pockets

      Gum pockets of 3-4 mm are still quite manageble and fairly normal. Anything 1-3 is considered generally a healthy depth as long as things aren't receeding a lot. It's when you start getting to 5 mm and deeper that there is more concern. I wouldn't use a panoramic xray to examine bone loss as it's meant more for a general overview of the jaws and teeth. Some of the nicer pans can take quite detailed views, but I'd trust a bitewing or periapical more for assessing bone loss. In any event, periodontal probings give a much more complete idea of your gum health and xrays just complement and add to the information at hand.

      Unless you don't want to hear about the status of your mouth, I would imagine that the dental team would share any important information with you. If all you had were 3-4 mm pockets, it really doesn't warrant a diagnosis of periodontitis if there isn't any active bone loss so there probably isn't a problem worth mentioning at all which explains why not much was said.

      If you're seeing your dental team for cleanings and treatment regularly, you should be well taken care of and any minor pocketing can very well heal up as long as you are performing good home care.

      I always say, let's make a molehill out of that mountain!
      Last edited by Zzzdentist; 19th January 2009 at 08:44.
      Cheese, Gromit, where's the Cheeeese???

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    4. #3
      Join Date
      Jan 2009

      Default Re: 3-4mm gum pockets

      Thanks for the information Zzzz dentist, that is what the logical part of my brain was thinking, but the overactive part of my brain kept getting in the way!

      The dentist office rang me today to offer me a cancellation appointment for my next hygienist visit to finish off the first cleaning (she is so busy I was previously not able to get another appointment until early March) and knowing I can get the rest of that process sorted sooner rather than later is making me a lot less anxious.

      I also feel I am now doing a much better with brushing now that she has given me a child size toothbrush for my small mouth and I have stopped using the bulky electric toothbrush that I was having trouble getting in between my bottom lip and lower teeth properly, and I have also been starting to floss (a big breakthrough for me), particularly in the affected area to stimulate the gums (I believe this promotes healing and mimises the risk of further plaque/bacteria build up) and rinsing with warm salty water, as advised by the hygienist.

      Oh, I should also mention that I had the bitewing x-rays done as well as the panoramic one, so my dentist had that covered

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