What exactly does the mm pockets mean?

by Kneshelle 
(South Carolina)

I just went to my general dentist for a cleaning. They did the little measurements with the little probe. I had three places in my mouth that were 4s, but everything else was 3 or less. 

I am currently seeking to put orthodontic braces on my teeth. I tried the invisalign, but it clearly is not working.


Today, I went to a new orthodontist, and he informed me that I should have never allowed that dentist to give me invisalign and my case needed to be treated with traditional braces (I'd have to agree 100%). 


My gums are shrunken, on my bottom two front teeth, but the probe read a 1.


I was wondering if you thought, that I was indeed a candidate for traditional braces? 

Also, I was wondering if I was in fact a candidate, could would it be better to get gum graft before or after treatment?

My reply

mm pockets

Hi Kneshelle, Those are great questons. I will answer what I can...

The mm stands for millimeter. Healthy gum pockets should measure 1-3 millimeters 4-6 is considered early to moderate periodontal (gum) disease. Deeper than 6 is considered severe or advanced disease.  Read more about gum pockets here.

If you only have a few 4mm pockets, you are in pretty good shape. 4mm pockets can usually be improved just by additional or improved brushing and flossing.

It's true that not everyone is a good candidate for invisalign. Each case has to be evaluated. Invisalign is typically recommended for easier cases that don't involve major changes in the bite (the way your upper and lower teeth fit together). 

I would guess that the gum graft could be done after your orthodontic treatment is completed. Your orthodontist should know if you are a candidate for traditional braces, but if you want another opinion ask  a periodontist.

It is not unusual for lower front teeth to have 1mm pockets.  Pocket depths are not necessarily related to gum recession. They are two separate issues.

Gum recession happens gradually and gum grafts can be scheduled at your convenience.   Some receded gums don't need treatment.  This article explains more about gum grafts.

Here is an article about receding gums.

Thank you for writing and good luck,
~Shelly~ 

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