|During a normal checkup, your dentist will examine your gums. This is called a periodontal examination, He or she will also use an instrument called a periodontal probe to gently measure the depth of the sulcus surrounding each tooth. The healthy sulcus depth is usually three millimeters or less.
Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. The first step usually is a thorough cleaning that includes scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits. The tooth roots also may be paned to smooth the root surface, allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. In some cases, the occlusion, or bite, may require adjustment.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums (4 to 6 millimeters or deeper) are present, it is difficult for the dentist to thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar. Likewise, you may have trouble keeping the pockets clean and free of plaque. If the pockets do nor heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may been needed. One of the goals of periodontal surgery is to reduce the depth of the periodontal pockets to make them easer to keep clean.
With surgery, the dentist can access hard to reach areas that require removal of tartar and plaque.