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How is Gum Disease Officially Diagnosed?

Nov 25, 2017

Gum disease is a serious oral health issue. It starts out as gingivitis. Your gums become irritated, inflamed, and bleed when you brush and floss. This stage is often missed, and the disease continues to get worse. Your gums pull away from your teeth, and bacteria fall below the gum line.

Your gums recede, your jawbone weakens and your teeth can eventually fall out. Treating gum disease is essential for the health of your mouth. But first, it must be diagnosed by your dentist.

Oral Exam

The first thing your dentist will do is perform a thorough oral exam. During this exam, your dentist will inspect the condition of your gum tissue, checking for inflammation and any signs of recession. This includes teeth that appear long or roots that are exposed.

Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays are used in order to assess the condition of your mouth in areas that are not visible to the naked eye. X-rays allow your dentist to see the roots of your teeth, the structures that support them and the condition of your jawbone. This allows your dentist to the extent of damage, and can track the deterioration over time.

Pocket Measurement

As plaque builds up on your teeth and your gum tissue becomes inflamed, your gums pull away from your teeth. This creates pockets between your gums and teeth. Bacteria fall into these pockets and cannot be reached with a toothbrush or floss. As gum disease worsens, the pockets grow deeper. Your dentist will measure the depth of these pockets with a metal probe. 1 to 3 millimeters is considered normal. Pockets deeper than 5 millimeters are considered periodontal disease.

Bacterial Tests

Your dentist may also perform bacterial tests as well. These tests help your dentist to determine which types of bacteria are present in your mouth, and where gum disease is active.

If you suspect you have gum disease, don’t delay. Contact our office to make an appointment right away.