Why Do Dentists Measure Your Gum Lines?
When you visit a dentist for a checkup, he or she might complete a process that involves measuring your gum lines. If you have never had this done before, you will probably wonder what it means and why dentists do it. Here are several things you should understand about this process.
Why it is done
Dentists measure the gums of patients for one main reason, which is to determine if the person may have gum disease or other gum-related issues. During this process, the dentist will use a small instrument that measures the distance from the point in which the gum attaches to a tooth to the height of your gum line. These areas are often referred to as pockets. The readings the dentist gets from this are in terms of millimeters, and this simple (yet tedious) task will reveal the health of your gums.
What the numbers mean
As the dentist is performing this test, you may hear him or her calling out numbers. Each number represents one of six areas on each tooth the dentist measures. If you hear the dentist calling numbers between one to three, it most likely indicates that your gums are healthy. Number four is not necessarily bad, but it can cause a dentist to worry slightly. If your gum measurements are above that, such as five or six, it is probably because you have some stage of gum disease.
In addition to measuring the gums, your dentist will also look for bleeding as this is done. Healthy gums will not bleed as quickly as unhealthy gums, and your dentist will take this into consideration when determining whether or not you need to have your gums treated.
Types of treatment that might be needed
If you have numbers that are primarily four or higher, the dentist might suggest treating your gums. If you are in the initial stage of gum disease, you might be able to get by with having your gum lines cleaned thoroughly. This is often referred to as scaling and root planing. When the damage is worse than this, you may need other forms of treatment, such as gum grafting or surgery to remove the infected gums.
Visiting a dentist might not be something you look forward to, but it is an important thing to do if you want healthy teeth and gums. To learn more, contact a dentist such as Paul Dona DDS in your area today.