Periodontal tissues are the tissues that support the teeth in the jaw bone. They comprise the gums (gingiva) and the bone to which the teeth are attached. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is diagnosed by a dentist or hygienist. They examine the gums for inflammation, i. e., swollen, red in color, or bleed easily. In diagnosing more advanced forms of periodontal disease, known as periodontitis, the dentist looks for "pockets" that form between the gums and the teeth. The severity of disease can be determined by measuring the depth of these "pockets". The deeper the pocket in millimeters, the more severe your gum disease. The dentist also looks for gum recession, which is a measure of the distance the gums have receeded to expose the root. Other symptoms dentists look for are bad breath and loose or sensitive teeth. Ulcers, lesions, or areas of discolored gums that are painful may be the signs of advanced gum disease. If there is pus or any other type of discharge from around the teeth, this may be a sign of infection and a dentist should be immediately consulted. To remove tartar and plaque beneath the gumline , dentists or periodontists use a technique called scaling and root planing.
A Answers (6)
American Dental Association answered
Your dentist can diagnose gum disease by examining your mouth and conducting a thorough oral exam. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important.
Here are some warning signs that you should share with your dentist:
- gums that bleed easily
- red, swollen, tender gums
- gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- persistent bad breath or bad taste
- permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- any change in the fit of partial dentures
Always remember to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Philip Uffer, DDS, Dentistry, answered
Your dentist usually looks at the quality of your gums (are they healthy-looking?). Then the dentist usually measures the space between the tooth and gum. 1-3mm is generally recognized as a healthy depth.
The gums should not bleed or be uncomfortable during the measuring (periodontal probing) process.
A more sophisticated way that may catch on more in the future is to rely on lab tests to screen for certain kinds of bacteria that are known periodontal pathogens.
Your dentist or dental hygienist will examine your gums and teeth for gum disease during regular visits. Using a small mirror and a tool called a probe, your dentist will look for:
- Bleeding gums. The more spots that bleed, the more likely it is that your gum disease is severe.
- Hard mineral deposits (tartar) above and below the gum line.
- Areas where your gums are pulling away from your teeth and pockets that have formed between your teeth and gums. Your dentist or dental hygienist will use the probe to measure the depth of the spaces between your teeth and gums to see how deep the pockets are.
The dentist or dental hygienist may take X-rays of your teeth to look for bone damage and other problems.
Visiting your dentist or dental hygienist regularly is the best way to detect gum disease before it causes serious damage. Your dentist will determine how often you should be seen based on your risk for gum disease.
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William M. Litaker, Dentistry, answeredBleeding and sore gums can be a symptom of gum disease. Your dentist can diagnose gum disease with a dental exam and xrays. Your dentist will look for signs of infection and bone loss around the teeth and can advise you as to the appropriate treatment.
Jerry Gordon, Dentistry, answered
Gum disease is diagnosed by both clinical (hands-on) and radiographic (x-ray) examinations. During a clinical exam, the dentist uses an instrument called a probe to measure the gums. A probe is like a small metal ruler using millimeter increments. The dentist probes the gum around the tooth and takes a series of measurements (usually six). In general, measurements of greater than 3 millimeters (called a "pocket") indicate the presence of gum disease. If the gum bleeds when the dentist gently probes it, this often indicates the presence of gum disease. Visual examination of a person with gum disease may reveal red, puffy, swollen or receding gums. Large deposits of plaque and calculus (tartar) are often visible in people with gum disease, especially those who have not seen a dentist in years. The teeth may be mobile, that is, the dentist is able to move the tooth a millimeter or two within the socket. A healthy tooth will not budge! The dentist may detect pus when putting gentle pressure on a puffy area of the gums. Foul mouth odor (bad breath) is also commonly associated gum disease.
X-rays are also helpful in the diagnosis of gum disease. The dentist will usually require a full mouth series of x-rays (18 films) or panoramic x-ray (a large picture of all of the teeth) to document the approximate level of the bone around the teeth. Bone loss appearing on the x-ray can be uniform (horizontal bone loss), uneven (vertical bone loss), or a combination of both. See also: http://www.dentalcomfortzone.com/template.php?aid=1.