Gum disease is a condition that can progress quite rapidly without many warning signs. Especially in its early stages, gum disease may not be overly obvious as it develops. As such, many people who have gum disease may not even know it until it is diagnosed by their dentist. Here are the ways that dental professionals check to see whether their patients are suffering from gum disease.
Measuring the Pockets in Gum Tissue
When you visit our office for your regular cleaning, we will use a probe to measure the pockets in the gum tissue around each tooth. It is normal for there to be some pocket depth: most healthy people will have pockets that are between 1 and 3 mm deep. However, pockets that are deeper than this can indicate the presence of gum disease. As a general rule, the deeper the pockets, the more advanced the gum disease.
Inspecting the Teeth
If you have teeth that have suddenly become sensitive to heat or cold, it could be a sign of gum tissue that has started receding from the teeth. A close inspection can determine whether this is occurring, as well as the extent to which the gum tissue has receded.
Of course, not every aspect of gum disease is visible to the naked eye. Many dental health professionals will turn to x-rays when gum disease is suspected. The x-rays can show deep hidden pockets as well as revealing any deterioration of the jawbone.
Getting the Diagnosis
If you think you may have gum disease, it is important to come see us as soon as you can. Avoiding the issue will not make things better, and with a fast diagnosis you can start treatment before the gum disease progresses any further.
If you have any questions about gum disease, we are happy to help. Contact us today.