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Dentistry/5-6 MM pockets in the gum


QUESTION: I had 6-7 mm pockets.  Had a deep cleaning  done 4 weeks ago and now my pockets are 5-6 mm. When I went back for  the 4 week dental visit, the dentist said there was still some tartar that you can see after a deep cleaning, but not before.  she cleaned some more.

However, she referred me to a specialist for possible laser treatment.

will my pockets not continue decreasing in size.  It's only been 4 weeks?

ANSWER: Hi Sandy,

Since I can't examine you to see the details of your gum problems,  I will just tell you what I would do myself according to what you wrote.

I would ask the hygienist to keep treating me the same way he or she has been.  Research shows no advantage of the impending laser treatments over what the hygienist can do.  If the hygienist was not comfortable with this, I would ask for a recommendation for another hygienist who is more experienced at treating periodontitis.

I hope this helps.  My main concern is possible over treatment.

Larry Burnett DDS

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your response.

The actual dentist was the one who sent me to see a specialist.  She said there was nothing more she could do for me.

Her options were laser surgery, conservative approach, or gum surgery.

Not thrilled on either option.

Will my gum pockets continue decreasing with good oral care.

My advice is to accept the conservative approach.  I hope this means she will do it in your original dentist's office.  The conservative approach is to combat the bacteria that are causing the disease.  This involves no surgery, no laser, and no specialist.

Larry Burnett DDS


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Larry Burnett DDS


Preventative Dentistry. Conservative Periodontal Therapy


National lecturer on conservative treatment of periodontal diseases and elimination of tooth decay. Former adjunct professor of oral microbiology at a Leading school of dental hygiene. Former investigator for State Board of Dentistry. Retired from private dental practice.


RDH Magazine. Numerous articles

Graduate of Medical College of VA School of Dentistry. 20 years teaching hygienists at NOVA

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