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Diagnosis

Diagnosis of periodontal disease is made by your dental hygienist or dentist during a periodontal examination. You should incorporate this type of exam into your routine dental check-up.

A small dental instrument known as periodontal probe is gently used to determine the space or pocket (sulcus) between the gums and tooth. A healthy sulcus should measure not more than three millimeters and does not bleed. The periodontal probe is used to determine if the depth of pockets exceed three millimeters. The pockets usually get deeper with the progression of periodontal disease.

Your dental hygienist or dentist will consider inflammation, bleeding, tooth mobility, and so on, to make a diagnosis that falls into the following category:

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is known as the first stage of periodontal disease. Plague and its toxins cause irritations to the gums, leading to sensitivity and inflammation, as well as making them likely to bleed.

Periodontitis

Plague becomes hard and forms calculus (tartar). As the buildup of plague and calculus continues, the gum starts receding from the teeth. This recession causes deeper pockets which are filled with bacteria and pus to be formed between the teeth and gums. This then leads to the irritation, inflammation, and bleeding of the gums. There may also be some degree of bone loss.

Advanced Periodontitis

As the periodontal ligament bone and gums keep getting destroyed, the teeth lose more support. If left untreated, the affected tooth may become lost. Some degree of bone loss may also occur.

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