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Periodontal Disease: Diagnosis

Your dentist or dental hygienist conducts a periodontal examination.
This painless procedure is used to measure and determine the severity of periodontal disease. This type of exam should always be part of your regular dental check-up.

A periodontal probe - a fine instrument calibrated in millimeters (mm) - is gently used to measure the pocket space (sulcus) between the tooth and the gums.
A healthy pocket depth measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed. Pocket depths greater than 3 mm indicate disease.

As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper. Your dentist or hygienist will use information, such as: pocket depths, inflammation, amount of bleeding, tooth mobility, to make a diagnosis which falls into one of the following categories:
Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is an irritation of the gums. It is usually caused by bacterial plaque that accumulates in the small gaps between the gums and the teeth, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.
Periodontitis
In the early stages, Periodontitis has very few symptoms and in many individuals the disease has progressed significantly before they seek treatment. Symptoms may include: receding, swollen, irritated or bleeding gums; deeper pockets; gigival recession; and bad breath (Halitosis).

Patients should realize that the gingival inflammation and bone destruction are largely painless. Hence, people may wrongly assume that painless bleeding after teeth cleaning is insignificant, although this may be a symptom of progressing periodontitis in that patient.
Advanced Periodontitis
Advanced periodontitis is present when the teeth lose more attachment because the supporting bone is destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth frequently becomes loose, may fall out or require removal by a dentist. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.

Periodontal Disease: Diagnosis

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that gets under the gums and into the bone around your teeth. This infection must be removed and the area given a chance to heal. There are two generally accepted treatments for this depending upon the severity of your infection: non-surgical and surgical treatment.

In the early stages of the disease, where no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given home care instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits. We will also provide you with scheduled regular dental cleanings.

If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, periodontal treatment involves scaling and root-planing to remove plaque and calculus around the teeth. It is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.

In more advanced cases, surgical treatments may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean.


To arrange for your appointment or to request more information:
Please call 905-641-2242 or email us.
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