Diagnosis of Periodontal Diseases
A dental professional can diagnose periodontal disease after a complete examination. Your visit usually begins with medical-dental questions where you are asked your chief complaint. You are also asked about medications you are taking and medical conditions that can affect the course of periodontal disease.
To determine the degree of disease involvement, a periodontal probe is gently teased into the spaces between the gum and tooth. The lines on the probe allow the therapist to gauge the depth of the spaces present. There are lines on the probe which when positioned with the outside gum margin allow for a measurement to be taken. Generally a range up to 3 mm is considered normal, based on six measurements taken around each tooth. Recession (root that is visible) and mobility of the teeth are also recorded.
A full evaluation of the supporting structures of the teeth also requires an x-ray examination. If you have all of your teeth, about 18 pictures are needed. The radiation to the head and neck area is less than half a day out in the sunshine. The x-ray pictures will allow us to evaluate root lengths of the individual teeth as well as existing bone levels and quality. Abnormalities, decay or underlying changes can be identified.
An analysis of your bite is done as well, since clenching and grinding habits of the teeth may contribute to the disease process.
Finally, based on the clinical and x-ray information, you will receive a comprehensive treatment plan.
The goals of periodontal therapy are to:
a) Establish health and comfort
b) Improve function and aesthetics
c) Maintain health
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