Hey, my name is Shelly Katalgo. My love for sedation dentistry started in high school. My best friend had a severe fear of going to the dentist and I wanted to help her feel better about it. Although I always enjoyed my dental visits, I felt bad that she struggled so much with going to hers. My parents taught me about sedation dentistry and I instantly dreamed of becoming a dental professional. I wanted to help kids like my friend stay fear free throughout their appointments by using gentle techniques and professional medications. Although I opted to follow a different career path, my passion for dentistry remained throughout the years. I will update my site with developments in this industry as soon as they are reported. I will also discuss the benefits of sedation dentistry in detail. Thanks for visiting. I hope you come back soon.
An important part of preventative dental health is periodontal probing. During this procedure, your dentist or hygienist measures the depth of gum pockets between the attached gingiva and the enamel. People with a depth of 3mm or less are less likely to be at risk for gingivitis or periodontitis. If your dentist catches a higher number when probing around the gum line, then the problem needs to be fixed; for instance, you might need scaling and root planing to fix the issue. Some patients may wonder how periodontal probing comes into play when they have one or more dental implants. Read on to learn more.
Does the Gum Tissue Need To Be Probed Around an Implant?
The gum tissue that surrounds an implant is different than gum tissue around natural teeth. With natural teeth, the gum tissue should firmly attach around the neck of the tooth, but with implants, there is no longer a firm attachment. Some dentists have wondered if periodontal probing would be detrimental to the restoration of the surrounding gum tissue and the implant structure. Furthermore, some implants have differently shaped abutments, so some people worry that the micromovements of probing may allow bacteria to collect in these gaps between the gum tissue and implant body.
To counteract these concerns, your dentist can use a plastic probe to avoid scraping and damaging the implant, or the dentist might use a flexible probe specifically for implants that can adapt to the contour of the restoration without irritating the surrounding tissue. One study found that while scaling instruments could cause roughness on implant abutments, probes shouldn't affect the implant surface. Ultimately, probing is generally safe as long as it's not being done during the healing and integration stage of implant placement.
What if You Have a High Number After Probing?
Some patients may be alarmed that they have a higher gum pocket measurement around their implant, but greater probing depths are typical. Remember, your gum tissue doesn't attach to an implant the same way as it would to natural teeth. Your dentist will take a baseline measurement to establish what's normal for your restoration so that you can compare that number with periodontal probing for future appointments.
Are There Other Ways To Monitor Gum Disease Besides Probing?
While periodontal probing is a very helpful in preventative care, your dentist can use other screening measures if probing isn't ideal for your case. For instance, your dentist can access the mobility of an implant and keep an eye on suppuration, or the formation of inflammation and pus around the implant, as well as gum recession. Your dentist may also use X-rays to look for bone loss in the jaw bone and surrounding structures, which could indicate the beginnings of gum disease.
If you have more questions about your gum health as it relates to your dental implant, reach out to a dentist today.