The key to success treating periodontal disease is to catch it early. That’s why it’s so important to schedule and attend your twice-yearly dental cleanings and exams. When you come to Peters Dental Associates, checking for the earliest signs of periodontal disease is an important part of our service.
What happens during my periodontal examination?
During a periodontal examination, a small dental instrument called a periodontal probe is used to measure the sulcus, or the pockets found between the teeth and gums. A healthy sulcus is three millimeters deep or less. Normally, the sulcus does not bleed. Using the periodontal probe, Dr. Peters determines if the pockets are any deeper than their standard measurement. As periodontal disease progresses, the sulcus usually gets deeper and the gums become prone to bleeding.
What are the different categories of periodontal disease?
Depending on the pocket depths, inflammation, amount of bleeding, and mobility of the teeth, periodontal disease falls into one of the following categories:
- Gingivitis– This is the initial stage of periodontal disease where the toxins in plaque start to irritate the gums, resulting in gum inflammation, tenderness, and possible bleeding.
- Periodontitis– The formation of tartar (calculus) above the gum-line is normal; it is removed during regular cleanings. But if left alone, the gum tissues begin to recede and separate from the teeth. This forms pockets (sulci) in between the teeth and gums, which are potential shelters for bacteria. During this period, the gums become severely irritated and inflamed. They also become prone to bleeding and bone loss begins.
- Advanced periodontitis– During this stage, the teeth start to lose more support in the tissues due to continued destruction of the gums, bone, and the periodontal ligaments. When the disease is not treated at this stage, the affected teeth become loose and will eventually be lost. During this advanced stage of the disease, generalized bone loss may be present, ranging from moderate to severe levels.
During your examination, Dr. Peters will identify which category your periodontal disease falls into. From there, he will create a personalized treatment plan to combat the disease and return your mouth to optimum health.