A periodontal examination and probing are used to assess the health of your gums and teeth. They will help to diagnose gum disease (gingivitis) and determine appropriate treatment.
During the exam the Doctor or Hygienist will evaluate the following:
The color, texture, size and shape of your gums.
Healthy gums are firm and pink.
Diseased gums may be:
- Reddish or bluish-red
- Puffy or spongy
- Enlarged or swollen
- Shaped differently than normal
- Whether any of your teeth are missing or loose.
- Periodontal pocket depths. The depth of the space between your tooth and gum is referred to as the pocket, it is where the gum attaches to the tooth. Pockets that are deeper than normal can be an indication of gum disease. The hygienist or dentist uses a periodontal probe to measure the depth of these pockets at various places around each tooth. Healthy gums cling tightly to the tooth, with the pockets measuring only 1 to 3 millimeters deep. Diseased gums tend to swell and detach from the tooth resulting in deeper pockets. In advanced stages of periodontal disease (periodontitis), the pockets can be more than 10 millimeters deep. If a pocket is this deep, it can mean that the soft tissue and bone anchoring the tooth in place has been lost.
- Presence of Blood during probing.
Based on the periodontal screening and evaluation of your current x-rays the doctor will then diagnose whether or not periodontal disease is present and what treatment would subsequently be needed.