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Diagnosing Periodontal Disease

Diagnosing Periodontal Disease

During a periodontal examination, your dentist or dental hygienist will diagnose periodontal disease using various factors. This type of examination is typically a crucial part of your regular dental check-up, allowing for early detection and treatment.

Examination Process with Periodontal Probe

A periodontal probe is a small dental instrument used during a periodontal examination to measure the sulcus or pocket between the tooth and gums. This probe is gently inserted into the space around each tooth to assess the health of the gums. A healthy sulcus depth is typically three millimeters or less and does not bleed when probed. Deeper pockets, indicated by measurements greater than three millimeters, can suggest potential gum disease.

Assessment Factors

Pocket Depths: Deeper pockets between the tooth and gums often indicate gum disease progression. As periodontal disease advances, these pockets can become deeper, allowing bacteria to accumulate and further damage the gums and supporting structures.

Bleeding: Bleeding upon probing is a common sign of inflammation and gum disease. Healthy gums should not bleed during probing. If bleeding occurs, especially in multiple areas, it suggests the presence of gingivitis or more advanced stages of periodontal disease.

Inflammation: Swollen, red gums are indicative of inflammation and infection in the gum tissues. Inflammation is the body's response to bacteria and irritants, and persistent inflammation can lead to tissue damage and bone loss.

Tooth Mobility: Loose or wobbly teeth can be a sign of advanced gum disease. As the supporting structures of the teeth, such as bone and connective tissue, are compromised by periodontal disease, teeth may become loose and unstable.

Plaque and Tartar: Accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, and tartar, hardened plaque, around the teeth can contribute to gum disease. Plaque contains harmful bacteria that irritate the gums and lead to inflammation. If not removed through proper oral hygiene, plaque can harden into tartar, which further irritates the gums and provides a surface for more bacteria to adhere to.

X-Rays: X-rays may be taken to assess bone loss, which is a common result of advanced periodontitis. Bone loss occurs when the bacteria associated with gum disease destroy the bone that supports the teeth. X-rays can reveal the extent of bone loss and help in planning appropriate treatment.

Categories of Periodontal Disease Diagnosis

After a thorough periodontal examination, the diagnosis will fall into one of the following categories based on the findings:

Healthy: If pocket depths are within the normal range (three millimeters or less) and there is no bleeding or signs of inflammation, the gums are considered healthy.

Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is characterized by red, swollen gums that may bleed easily, especially during brushing or flossing.

Mild Periodontitis: If pockets are between four to five millimeters deep and there is some bone loss, the condition is classified as mild periodontitis. There may be a slight to moderate gum recession.

Moderate Periodontitis: Pockets between six to seven millimeters deep, along with increased bleeding, inflammation, and noticeable bone loss, indicate moderate periodontitis. Gum recession is more apparent at this stage.

Severe Periodontitis: Pockets deeper than seven millimeters, significant bone loss, extensive gum recession, tooth mobility, and possible pus discharge are signs of severe periodontitis. This stage poses a high risk of tooth loss without prompt intervention.

At Gen Z Dentistry in Glendale, NY, we place a strong emphasis on the comprehensive care and early detection of periodontal disease. Our experienced dentists and dental hygienists conduct thorough periodontal examinations as an integral part of every regular dental check-up. For individuals diagnosed with moderate to severe periodontitis, we offer advanced treatments like scaling and root planing, surgery, and deep cleanings to halt disease progression and preserve optimal oral health. Book your appointment with Gen Z Dentistry today to ensure your gums receive the attentive care they deserve.

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