Why Does the Hygienist Poke My Gums?

Categories: General Dentistry

why does the hygentist poke my gumsScotts Valley and Santa Cruz, CA

When you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office, the hygienist probably pokes your gums and reads off numbers, and then records those findings in your chart. What exactly is the hygienist doing?

It is called probing, which is done so by the hygienist during your cleaning appointment. The hygienist measures the depth of your gums and bone around each tooth to determine if you have periodontal (gum) disease, and if so, the severity of it. The process should be painless unless you are experiencing severe gum infection, in which case your gums may be just a little tender afterward.

The hygienist will measure six areas around each tooth. If your numbers are between 1-3 with no bleeding, congratulations, you have healthy gums and bone level. However, if you have gum pockets that are 4mm or more, you could be experiencing an infection in your gums or gum disease. The higher the number, the more likely it is that you have gum disease and bone loss. If this is the case for you, the periodontal disease will need to be treated to prevent tooth loss and to stop the infection.

Monitoring your periodontal health is an essential part of your oral health, especially noting any changes that may occur between visits. You may have seemingly healthy gums and bone now, but that could change due to medications, age, or hormones, which is why routine visits to the dentist are important. Should the hygienist discover early stages of gum disease, treatment can begin immediately, which will preserve your smile much longer than ignoring the issue.

If it is found that you have gum disease, a personalized treatment plan will be developed that best meets the needs of your oral health.

To schedule an appointment, please contact Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry at (831) 438-4411.

Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry serves patients located in the California communities of Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley.