of disease. But what happens when the disease is active? We find this out by measuring the cuff of gum around the teeth. We want that cuff to be no more than 3 mm deep. The deeper it gets beyond that the more difficult to clean and the more infection there will be in the gums. This is called a periodontal pocket. We do this measuring of the gum's depth at the initial visit and usually once a year after that.
At this point we are not preventing but we are treating a disease. This requires the hygienist to go to the depth of the pocket to clean out the infection that resides there. Since it is done gently and thoroughly it will take more time and skill to "clean" the teeth and gums. Instead of one appointment it may take two to four.
Even this does not usually bring the mouth back to complete health. The gums are weak and vulnerable to periodontal disease. If you have this problem you may need to be seen three to four times a year instead of twice to keep the disease under control.
There are situations where the disease is severe enough that we will refer you to a specialist in gum disease (periodontist) for a more complicated treatment.