Periodontal disease is diagnosed during a periodontal examination and should always be part of your regular dental check-up. A periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums and helps indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters for a healthy sulcus, as pockets usually get deeper with the progression of periodontal disease.
The categories of diagnosis are:
As the sulcus between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues, periodontal disease progresses. If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. However, if the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning, called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning,) is performed to remove tartar, plaque and toxins from above and below the gum line ( scaling ) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth ( planing ). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink.
When periodontal treatment has been completed, you will need to have regular maintenance cleanings ( periodontal cleanings ), where the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Any plaque and calculus will be removed from above and below the gum line.
Your appointment normally includes: