Dr. Beck, Dr. Morrow, and the staff at Mt. Tabor Dental take the dental health of our patients very seriously. One of the most important components of our new patient exams is our thorough evaluation for periodontal disease.
Periodontal Disease Evaluation Procedures
During the periodontal portion of a comprehensive dental exam, the doctors or hygienists use an instrument called a “periodontal probe” to measure the depth of the gum “pocket” or sulcus circumfrentially around each tooth. The pocket depth, in addition to other findings, can indicate several dental conditions, most significantly the periodontal status of your teeth.
Periodontal Pocket Depth Indicators
You may wonder what the numbers mean when your practitioner is calling them out to be recorded. The number is the actual depth of the pocket from where the gums start to where the tooth is connected to the gums and bone within the pocket. In general, pocket depths in the 1-3 mm are considered healthy and normal, but many times there is still evidence of gingivitis with these depths. Any pockets measuring 4mm in depth or greater can signify the start of the periodontal disease process, meaning the bone holding the tooth in the socket has become inflamed and may start to be resorbed.
Checking Teeth and Gums for Periodontal Disease
In addition to measuring pocket depths, Mt. Tabor Dental staff also record gum recession, which are areas that gum tissues have been lost around certain areas of teeth. Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gum tissues, can also lead to bleeding in certain areas, so these “bleeding points” are recorded as part of the exam. All teeth are checked for “mobility,” or movement, to ensure that the tooth roots are firmly anchored to the jawbones.
Finally, the exam includes detection of “furcations,” which is bone loss around the roots of the teeth, usually a sequela of more severe periodontal disease. Using all of this information, Dr. Beck, Dr. Morrow, and the hygienists at Mt. Tabor Dental take pride in educating patients on their periodontal conditions.
Follow-Up for Periodontal Treatment
For conditions that would best be handled by a specialist, we have a number of trusted periodontist colleagues who take very good care of our patients. Whether treated by a specialist or by our skilled hygienists in-office, our practice will provide customized periodontal treatment plans that will not only educate you, but help you overcome any problems you may have. Please contact Mt. Tabor Dental if you have any further questions relating to your dental or periodontal health.