The Full Mouth Probe

Our hygienist probes the “pockets” around teeth at each periodontal maintenance visit, or at least once a year for prophy patients.  All teeth have a pocket of gingiva around them that is about 2-3mm when healthy.  As plaque builds up around teeth, gingivitis develops as the gingiva gets swollen and bleeds easily.  This is where we typically see pocket depths increase to 4-5mm.  As plaque continues to deposit and turn into tartar (or “barnacles”) this colony of bacteria infects the bone around teeth and causes bone loss as the bone shrinks away from the tooth.  Pockets deeper than 5 mm is usually sign of bone loss and periodontal disease. During the probing, the hygienist is also evaluating the following:

  • Pocket Depth
  • Level of Inflammation
  • Bleeding
  • Amount of Accumulated Tarter in Sub and Supra-Gingival Spaces
  • Mobility of Teeth
  • Presence of Suppuration and/or Granulation Tissue

This FMP is a critical tool to assess each patient’s oral health and allow our hygienists to determine the most accurate type of treatment/cleaning for you so that they may focus on the appropriate areas needed to help get a patient healthy.