Consultation 1 hr
You may have periodontal (gum) disease and not even realize it. That's
because periodontal disease
is usually not painful, especially in its early stages. To diagnose
(check for) signs and symptoms of periodontal
disease, we perform a thorough periodontal examination.
Periodontal disease is an infection in the gums, caused by the bacteria
in plaque. When your gums are healthy, they fit tightly against your
teeth. If you have periodontal disease, your gums pull away from your
teeth in response to the infection.
In a healthy mouth, the space between your teeth and gums (called a
sulcus) is one to two millimeters deep. When you have periodontal disease,
the sulcus deepens and eventually exceeds three millimeters; it's then
called a pocket.
In general, the deeper the pockets, the greater the spread of periodontal
disease. During your examination, we use a special instrument with millimeter
markings (called a periodontal probe) to measure the sulcus or pocket
depths around your teeth.
carefully note any bleeding as we take your periodontal measurements.
Gums that bleed when probed (as well as when you brush and floss) are
another sign of periodontal disease; healthy gums don't bleed.
We'll also note the color and texture of your gums. Healthy gums are
pink and have a stippled appearance, similar to the skin of an orange.
Swollen gums lose this stippled appearance.
Finally, we'll review x-rays of your mouth to establish whether there
has been bone loss around your teeth—another indicator of periodontal
If your mouth is healthy, the bone comes up high around the necks of
your teeth. With periodontal disease, bone is lost. The longer it goes
untreated, the more bone is lost.
To prevent the bone and tooth loss, it is critical to diagnose
and treat periodontal disease as early