understanding probing depthsDO YOU RECALL HEARING NUMBERS – like 2, 2, 2, 4 – being said aloud during your dental cleanings or dental exams?

Comfort Dental would like to call out what these numbers actually mean.


These numbers are your measurements – more specifically your depth measurements and they are important in determining the condition of your gum health.

Your gum tissue does not attach directly to your teeth. There is a space or pocket between the gum and the tooth before it attaches. The natural pocket gets deeper when bacteria or gum disease is present. To monitor and evaluate gum health, the pocket depth is measured, recorded, and monitored over time.

In a healthy mouth, a pocket can be generally from 1-2 millimeters deep.

To measure a pocket, our dental hygienists or dentists use a periodontal probe. The probe allows  us to measure in millimeters from the top of the pocket to the bottom of the pocket. The bottom of the pocket is where the tissue is connected through ligaments to the root. This measurement is taken very gently and causes no damage to the gum tissue.

When a tooth has signs of gum disease, the tissue begins to detach. Under 2mm deep a pocket is considered healthy, while 4mm or deeper is generally considered unhealthy. The bacteria and infection causing the detachment needs to be addressed.

Find out more about gum health & gum disease by clicking here.

Gum health is something Comfort Dental takes very seriously as it is so important to keeping your teeth AND to your overall health.

Periodontal (gum) pocket measurements are generally taken once or twice a year – and more often in patients with active or past gum infection – and are recorded in your electronic chart. This procedure is just one of the many ways we help ensure you have a healthy smile for a lifetime. And the best part – it takes only a few minutes.

If you have more dental questions, please let us know – ask the dentists anytime. Also, in addition to Dr. Randall Brucken and Dr. Lawrence Stubbs, we have three dedicated dental hygienists passionate about healthy teeth and gums. We hope to see you soon!