Diagnosing Periodontal Desease
Periodontal examinations are a crucial part of our routine check-ups here at Dental Health Centers. During this process, a small probe will be used to precisely measure the space that exists between your teeth and gum tissue. This space (also known as a sulcus) should only be three millimeters at the most, and no blood should be present. The depth of these spaces typically become more and more extended as periodontal disease progresses, so monitoring them is a must. Once we have all the information we need, our doctors can provide a diagnosis. Cases of periodontal disease fall into the following categories:
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease, and it is reversible with the help of strong oral hygiene practices. The gum tissue will be more tender, red, and likely to bleed.
- Periodontitis: Periodontitis occurs when the gums begin to significantly recede from your teeth, allowing the spaces to fill with dangerous bacteria and plaque. At this stage, the soft oral tissue will bleed without much provocation and become inflamed. Bone loss may also occur.
- Advanced Periodontitis: At this stage, teeth have lost a significant amount of their vital support due to the destruction of gum and bone tissue. At this point, tooth loss may be imminent.
Once plaque has formed on the teeth, it only takes around twenty-four hours for it to harden into the more damaging calculus (also known as tartar). Diligent oral hygiene at home will help keep these areas under control, but there are hard-to-reach spaces in your mouth that may need professional attention. Routine periodontal maintenance can provide needed revitalization and protection.
Once patients have undergone their initial periodontal treatment, we strongly recommend that you attend periodontal cleanings four times a year in order to protect your teeth and gums. During these visits, we will carefully review your periodontal pockets to determine their status, and difficult plaque and calculus will be thoroughly removed from the mouth. We will also provide other necessary parts of the overall check-up process, including diagnostic X-rays and an examination of your teeth.
Our recommendations for your periodontal treatment will be individualized to fit your unique needs. When determining the necessary care, the severity of your condition is the biggest factor.
If we diagnose periodontal disease while it is still classified as gingivitis, this means that no lasting damage has occurred yet. Typically, a professional cleaning is sufficient to restore health to your smile, as well as instructions on how to properly brush and floss at home with quality products.
If your condition has reached the level of periodontitis, we can perform a special, in-depth cleaning that is known as scaling and planing. During this procedure, our team will remove plaque and bacteria from both above and below the gum line. We will also smooth the tooth root surfaces so as to prevent the accumulation of bacteria there. This will help your periodontal pockets grow smaller in size. Antibiotic therapy may also be recommended in order to further treat the infection and limit any resurgence.
If scaling and root planing is ineffective, periodontal surgery may become a necessity for your condition. Our specialists will personally oversee your case in order to ensure a successful, comfortable experience.