Periodontal Evaluation & Screening
Evaluation of your gums and their surrounding structures is periodontal evaluation and screening. Thorough evaluation involves understanding your medical and dental history, taking all the necessary x-rays and a complete examination of teeth and gums and the surrounding tissues. During this examination, your dentist will look at your missing teeth, health of remaining teeth including the fillings, cavities, badly positioned teeth, mobile teeth, infections of teeth and gums and the status of nerve tissue in each of your teeth as these are major contributing factors for gum disease.
The overall hygiene or presence of plaque and tartar or calculus (hard or calcified plaque) will also be examined. Another important part of periodontal examination involves measuring the bone levels around your teeth or measuring periodontal pockets. What are periodontal pocket measurements? Well, as you can see the teeth are surrounded by gums and at this junction of gums and teeth there’s a crevice or sulcus.
The depth of this sulcus is the pocket. It is in these pockets where there is constant mix of food debris and bacteria and if not controlled with optimum oral hygiene and regular dental check ups, can lead to swollen gums, bad breath, bleeding during brushing etc. This is measured by a periodontal probe which is like a millimeter ruler that is inserted into the sulcus along the long axis of each tooth to get the measurements. A reading of 1 to 3 millimeters is considered healthy. Anything over 3 mm is considered inflammation, gingivitis, or mild gum disease.Readings higher like 6 mm or more is periodontitis or advanced gum disease.
Advanced gum disease indicates an ongoing infection which, if left untreated, can cause tooth loss and damage to neighboring teeth and gums. Status of periodontal health is closely linked with your general health. Untreated gum disease is believed to cause increased bacterial growth which can get inside your blood stream affecting your health. You should also know that your general dentist can only accurately treat early stages of gum disease. Based on your clinical situation your dentist may refer you to “Periodontist,” a specialist who has had advanced training in the field of gums and their surrounding structures. It is absolutely essential to follow your general dentist and periodontist’s recommendation to keep your gums and teeth healthy.