What Does It Mean When a Dentist Checks a Patient's Gums and Says "3, 1, 3, 3?"

The McCarl Dental Group states that these numbers are the raw measurements of gum tissue pockets around teeth and are used to diagnose periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. The pockets are measured with a periodontal probe by the dentist and called out to the dental assistant for recording.

According to the McCarl Dental Group, a gum pocket depth between 1 and 3 millimeters indicates healthy gum tissue. Depths of 4 or more millimeters indicate the presence of gum disease. If extensive gum disease is present, a dentist recommends a deep cleaning involving scaling and root planing to clear out the infected bacteria and tissue.