You probably learned to keep your teeth plaque-free when you were a child. The techniques and tools that were effective then are not sufficient to maintain your teeth and gums now that they have been damaged by periodontal disease.
In a healthy mouth, the space between the tooth and gums (called the sulcus) is normally only two to three millimeters deep. Careful brushing and flossing will usually do a fine job of keeping healthy teeth and gums free from plaque. But when you have periodontal disease, the sulcus deepens, forming what we call pockets around your teeth.
Pockets are deeper than three millimeters, so they’re much more susceptible to developing an accumulation of plaque and diseasecausing bacteria.
Tooth roots and bone are also affected
Another concern when you have periodontal disease has to do with the shape of the roots of your teeth. When no periodontal disease is present, the bone level is high and the gums attach firmly at the necks of the teeth. You can easily wrap floss around this surface and do a thorough job of keeping plaque off your teeth.
Periodontal disease lowers bone levels in your jaw and causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. Plaque can now accumulate in the grooves on the sides of the root surfaces. Floss glides over these indentations, without removing the plaque.
Special cleaning tools are necessary
You need to use special tools and techniques to reach down beyond the normal three millimeters to thoroughly clean the indentations in the sides of the roots. There are tools made specifically for each area of your mouth. It’s also vital that you see us for more frequent checkups, typically every three or four months. Our Houston dentist will work with you to customize a plaque-removal system and teach you how to use that system at home to keep your teeth plaque-free.