Periodontal Examinations and Correct Diagnosis
Going to the dentist does not just stop at the care of your teeth. Another integral part of keeping your teeth and your entire mouth healthy is keeping a check on your gums. Diseases such as Gingivitis, Periodontitis, and Advanced Periodontitis are serious diseases that not only jeopardize the health of your gums, but the health and overall state of your teeth. These diseases are easily prevented by flossing regularly (after each time you brush your teeth), and your dental hygienist doing a periodontal examination during your bi-annual visits. During a periodontal examination, your hygienist will use a periodontal probe to measure the pocket, or sulcus, in between your teeth and gums. The normal depth for the sulcus should be between 1-3 millimeters, and there should not be any bleeding.
The early stages of gingivitis are caused by plaque around the gums, which is full of bacteria. Gingivitis can make the gums swollen and tender, causing them to bleed when they otherwise wouldn’t. Gingivitis is diagnosed when the sulcus indicates a depth greater than three millimeters, but is treatable and can be reversed.
The next stage after Gingivitis is Periodontitis. At this stage, the gums begin to recede due to the hardening of the plaque, which can turn into tartar. The gums swell even more, bleed easier, become full of infection, and can cause the deterioration of teeth. Periodontitis can be treated with a procedure called scaling, which is the removal of the tartar and plaque around the gum line. Antibiotics are also used to help combat infection. As Periodontitis turns into Advanced Periodontitis, the gums are further deteriorated and the loss of teeth becomes severe. Advanced Periodontitis needs to be caught and treated immediately to help save patients from severe bone loss and infection. Periodontitis doesn’t only affect your teeth either; this disease, even more so in its advanced stage, can heighten one’s chance of heart attack or stroke.
Gingivitis, Periodontitis, and Advanced Periodontitis can all be detected and treated by your dental hygienist, dentist, or a periodontist. A periodontist specializes in the treatment of Periodontitis and Advanced Periodontitis. Once diagnosed with Periodontitis or Advanced Periodontitis, a periodontist might use other procedures in order to help restore your teeth and gums and keep any infection from becoming worse.