4mm and 5mm pockets... very scared and unsure of realistic outcome

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Jim in Ottawa, Ontario

65 months ago

Hi everyone,

I'm 33 and went in for a cleaning 2 weeks ago. I haven't been so strict with my homecare and though I was brushing twice a day, I wasn't flossing very much like I should have been. I had my last cleaning 6 months prior and was told that I had a few 2/3mm, many 4mm pockets and two 5mm pockets upon probing.

I noticed a very small space (black hole) between two of my front upper teeth and got scared that this may be gum recession related so I immediately booked a cleaning appointment and started flossing rigorously. During the cleaning, my pocket depths were read at a few 2-3mm, mostly 4mm, and two 5mm pockets. I'm not sure if starting aggressive flossing the week before may have artificially increased some of these numbers due to swelling, but the numbers really have me worried. The dentist and hygienist did mention the possibility of pseudopockets.

I had scaling done on all my teeth and laser cleaning on some of the 4mm and 5mm pockets (looking back, I'm not sure if this was being pushed on me as an upsell, but I agreed as it was covered by insurance and I was hopeful that it might help). I didn't have any root planing, nor was it offered.

1.5 weeks have passed and since then, I've been extremely worried and having trouble sleeping..

I've been flossing twice a day (morning and night), brushing 3 times a day, and using a mouth rinse 3 times a day (Gengigel). My gums no longer bleed when flossing (occasionally I'll get a bit of blood if the floss snaps through tight teeth into the gums). Some areas are still a bit puffy, but look like they're settling down a bit.

I have a follow-up with my hygienist in 5 weeks from now. What can I expect as a realistic outcome for the 4mm and two 5mm pockets if I continue diligent homecare and regular cleanings?

cheers and thanks in advance!

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Jim in Ottawa, Ontario

65 months ago

Thank you for the reply, it's very much appreciated!

I didn't have xrays done this time, but I will be having them done upon returning so we can assess any bone loss. The dentist had mentioned that she didn't think there was bone loss, but we'll know with the xrays.

As for the laser, it definitely was a laser cleaning system they used (I had to wear glasses to protect from the certain wavelength). It probably was an upsell as this hygienist did try to push a few different products on me that their office offered.

I had a lot of 4mm pockets up front, and a 5mm pocket 2 teeth over from the my top front tooth. The other 5mm pocket was in the back.

Thanks for the info on the grafting. I have a feeling that's still a ways off and I will do my best not to let it get to that point.

Out of curiosity, have you ever seen a 5mm pocket reduce to 3mm?

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RDH in Toronto, Ontario

65 months ago

I have seen that, but I am concerned that you have a 5mm pocket so close to the front of your mouth. When you started flossing, did you bleed a lot?

It's great that you're having x-rays done, do you know if it's a full mouth series (~20 x-rays of your whole mouth), or just bite-wings (2 or 4 of just the back teeth)?

I guess the laser thing is a new system. The only laser I ever used was an experimental one in school called periowave, but I'd probe each pocket and inject it was methylene blue with dyed the bad bacteria then I'd go in with the laser that killed the dyed bacteria. My patient's pockets went from 8's and 9's to 4-5mm pockets in a matter of 3 months!!

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Jim in Ottawa, Ontario

65 months ago

I'm not sure about the xrays, I'll ask when I go in next. I can ask for the 20 if it's more comprehensive.

I did have bleeding throughout my mouth when I started flossing, but it stopped after flossing for 2-3 days. The probing did cause bleeding, though.

Wow, that's a great improvement!

Would it be worth going in again before the 6 week mark to have some of the spots that were 5 checked again to ease my mind?

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Jim in Ottawa, Ontario

65 months ago

Oops, I meant bone levels at the appropriate level for my age on the June 2011 xrays

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Jim in Ottawa, Ontario

65 months ago

Oops! I meant bone level at the appropriate level for my age in the June 2011 xray.

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Bluetea in Texas

65 months ago

Jim in Ottawa, Ontario said: Thanks again for the reply.

It turns out I do have some recession on four of the lower molars (3 have 1mm and one has 2mm of recession). This scares me as I know it adds to the amount of attachment loss.

I also have class 1 furcations on these 4 teeth. My dentist mentioned that he doesn't think there's bone loss and that my last bite wing xrays from June 2011 showed bone loss at the proper level for my age. He believed a lot of the probe readings are due to inflammation, though I'm confused as to why I'd have furcations if there was no bone loss.

I've kept up flossing 2-3 times a day + brushing after every meal.

I had started clenching my teeth at night 2 years ago and I'm wondering if this contributed to it. I was waking up with jaw pain, my jaw muscles felt tired, and actually had some ear buzzing.

What has 50 legs, no teeth and an IQ of 60?
>
>
>
>
The whole first row of a Willie Nelson concert. Ha!

My dentist loves that joke.

Your case isn't really bad. Its those 9's and 10's that are troublesome. A lot of this can be reversed with scheduled periodontal care. Even, in the worse situation, there is gum surgery. I have been through it all. Heh!

Understand that if you see an old person with great teeth - they bought them. Lol1

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JuleAlain in Madagascar

38 months ago

I came accross a very interesting website with more info on this product: www.medicalexpo.com/medical-manufacturer/dental-probe-6883.html

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melroy in Los Angeles, California

26 months ago

Hi, I am quite scared about my level of gum recession too. I have been told by a few different dentists that I need a frenectomy on my lower lip as well as gum graft surgery on my front lower tooth. I don't remember what my pocket depth is but I do have thin gums so a lot of my gums look like they are receding a bit, but this one tooth in particular is the worst. I really DO NOT want surgery. Is there anything I can do or just wait till it gets to the point where I definitely need surgery? Is there a way to upload a picture on here so you can see it?

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krbcan in Toronto, Ontario

8 months ago

3 weeks ago, during my regular cleaning, I was told my rear right tooth had a deep pocket of 7mm. The last time it was checked about a year earlier, it was at 5 mm. My dentist was concerned, and asked if I wanted to go to a periodontist to check it out, or to come back and see him in several weeks to see if it improved. I said I would see him in 3 weeks. All he told me to do was to really make an effort in cleaning my teeth in the interim.

My usual oral care had been brushing once or twice a day for about 1 minute, with dental picks at night, and occasional listerine mouthwashes, and hydrogen peroxide brushes about once every 2 weeks.

So here is what I did after leaving the dentist...

- I decided to take about 5000+ mg of Vitamin C each day (luckily it did not bother my stomach). I had not maybe taken vitamin c since about a year or so earlier.
- Also increased my vitamin d intake (2 pills), took glucosamine sulfate (2 pills) and 2 pills of omega 3 every day.
- I brushed twice a day, used a dental pick in the morning, and flossed at night. My brushing time probably increased by 30-60 seconds compared to previously.
- I also took a couple of tablespoons of gelatin every other day which I added to my smoothie.
- I brushed with hydrogen peroxide maybe every 3rd day.
- about every other day or so, I used a pre-brushing mouth wash before brushing my teeth. I also gargled with listerine most days.
- diet didn't change, nor did my normal routine or sleeping habits. If anything, my stress levels increased significantly during this time, due to issues at work.

So 3 weeks later, back at the dentist. The 7 mm pocket had shrinked to 3.5 mm.

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