What numbers mean when dentists shout them out during check-up

by Jessica

Did you have a pleasant holiday? That’s great to hear! I was contemplating the idea of visiting the same destination next year.

While immersed in this thought, the concept of numbers suddenly brought to mind an entirely different scenario – sitting in a dentist’s chair under a bright light, with someone in a white jacket examining my mouth.

As we endure a routine dental check-up, hoping to avoid the necessity of a deep clean or a filling, the dentist keeps calling out seemingly random numbers, moving tools around our teeth, and poking at our gums.

It’s a perplexing experience, with phrases like “One to three ok” echoing in the room. The dentist navigates around our teeth, clanging tools against them and inspecting our gums, all the while assigning numerical values to different parts of our oral cavity.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding these numerical utterances, it turns out they are merely designations for the various teeth in our mouths. Each tooth has its corresponding number, with the central incisor, the front teeth, being number one.

The lateral incisors, the teeth on either side, are number two, followed by the canines at number three. The first and second molars at the top are numbers four and five, and the bottom molars collectively make up six, seven, and eight.

However, the dentist tends to simplify these numbers while assessing gum health. The ratings range from one to six, with one indicating excellently healthy gums and six suggesting gums in less than optimal condition.

These numbers correlate with the depth of spaces, known as pockets, between teeth and gums. The depth of these pockets is crucial, as it reveals the health of your gums.

Shallow pockets are indicative of healthy gums, while deeper pockets may signal gum disease and bacterial buildup. A range of 1-3 millimeters typically falls within the healthy gums mark, while pockets measuring 4 millimeters or more could be a cause for concern.

According to South Florida Dental Care Practice, if your number is four or higher, significant oral health issues may be at play, such as inflammation, bone loss, a cracked tooth, or periodontal disease.

To maintain healthy gums, the NHS recommends regular brushing (twice a day) and minimizing sugar consumption. So, the next time you find yourself in the dentist’s chair, those seemingly arbitrary numbers might just reveal the secret to the health of your gums.

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