Why We Measure Gum Tissue

Jamie J. Alexander on February 17, 2021

Gum tissue measurements are an essential diagnostic procedure for determining if you have inflammation in the gum tissue surrounding teeth, for determining the extent of the disease, and whether the signs of the disease (principally the depths of gum pockets) have increased or decreased since your last appointment.

“Ouch!” you think. “I don’t want you sticking a pointy instrument in my gums.” We know. We know. We get it.

First, we want to communicate that this is not an uncomfortable procedure for most patients. And if gums appear tender, we pre-numb the gums with topical anesthetic. You might have a split second of feeling something sharp in the gum tissue around a specific tooth, but if you do, remember it will be very fleeting.

Second, we must assess the health of your gum tissue to help you maintain oral health and prevent damage to your teeth.

Come on, admit it. You do want to keep your teeth, minimize dental treatment, and have a healthy, beautiful smile for your lifetime. That’s why you come here in the first place.

Gum inflammation that advances unchecked can result in enamel decay, periodontal bone loss, root infection, and loss of teeth.
When we can help you have a healthy, beautiful smile, why would you want to go around with puffy, red, unhealthy appearing gums?

Third, we must assess the health of your gum tissue to help you maintain total body health because gum inflammation is linked to many systemic diseases.

For example, gum inflammation is associated with the onset and worsening of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Thousands of studies have demonstrated this.

Studies have also shown that gum inflammation negatively affects your immune system. More Information

A study published in the October 2020 issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association (JCDA) suggests that hospitalized coronavirus patients with prior underlying gum disease may be at higher risk for respiratory failure.

The sooner we spot gum inflammation and nip it in the bud, the better it will be. Eliminating inflammation is a team effort. How can you help? Show up for appointments with appreciation and understanding for why we probe gum tissue. Don’t delay regular appointments unless there is a real reason to do so, such as being ill or being exposed to someone who is ill. Ask what you can do at home to make gum health better and commit to working at it daily. Read more here.

Please understand that we do not perform diagnostic procedures or recommend gum treatments that you don’t really need to maintain your health. Our honesty is something you can count on.

With sincerity,

Dr. Alexander, Tammy Deery RDH, and April Alparone RDH

Jamie J. Alexander, DDS in Boynton Beach, Florida.