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Periodontal Disease Diagnosis

At Tyler Dental Artz, your dentist and hygienist will perform a number of procedures to determine a diagnosis of periodontal disease.

Medical History

We will first take a medical history to reveal any past or present periodontal problems, any underlying diseases that might be contributing to the problem and any medications the patient is taking. After noting the general state of oral hygiene, the dentist may ask about the quality of home dental care.

Physical Examination

Your dentist and hygienist will assess the colour and shape of gingival tissue on the cheek side and the tongue side of every tooth and compare these qualities to the healthy ideal. Redness, puffiness and bleeding upon probing indicate inflammation. If the gum formation between teeth is blunt and not pointed, chronic, long-standing periodontal disease or acute necrotizing periodontal disease may be indicated.

Periodontal Screening & Recording (PSR)

PSR is a painless procedure used to measure and determine the severity of periodontal disease.

Your dentist or hygienist uses a mirror and a periodontal probe — a fine instrument calibrated in millimeters (mm) — which is used to measure pocket depth. This probe is held along the length of the tooth with the tip placed in the pocket. The tip of the probe will then touch the point where the connective tissue attaches to the tooth. Your dentist or hygienist will “walk” the probe to 6 specified points on each tooth and record the depth of the probe at each point.

Pocket depths greater than 3 mm usually indicate disease and require close monitoring.

These measurements help determine the condition of the connective tissue and amount of gingival overgrowth or recession (loss of gum tissue that supports a tooth).

Testing Tooth Movement

Tooth mobility is determined by pushing each tooth between 2 instrument handles and observing any movement. Mobility is a strong indicator of bone support loss.

X-Rays

X-rays are taken to show any loss of bone structure supporting the teeth. A full mouth x-ray series is a necessary adjunct for a complete periodontal examination. X-rays will show the architecture and height of the bone structure supporting the teeth and will therefore show areas where there may be bone loss. Your dentist will determine what specific x-rays are required for your diagnosis.

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