Achieving Good Dental Health Can Be Easier than You Think

Comprehensive Dental Examination To Rule Out Periodontal Disease

If gingivitis is not identified and treated while still in its early stages, it can progress to periodontal disease. This oral condition can lead to tooth loss, jaw bone destruction, severe pain, and soft tissue damage to your gums. Fortunately, maintaining a good routine of oral hygiene and seeing your family dentist and hygienist regularly can help lower your risk. Here are some diagnostic interventions that may be included in your comprehensive dental examination that will help your dentist determine if you have periodontal disease.

Periodontal Pocket Assessment

Your family dentist will assess the depth of your periodontal pockets by inserting a special probe into them. Periodontal pockets are spaces that develop between your teeth and gums that increase in depth as a result of oral bacteria growth. Because deep periodontal pockets indicate the presence of periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend an evaluation by a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal issues.

If you develop gum inflammation, loose teeth, tooth sensitivity, or bad breath, you may have periodontal pockets. Periodontal pockets can cause gum inflammation because the bacteria that is trapped inside of them can trigger an inflammatory response. As your gums separate to form the pockets, it may cause your teeth to loosen. Bad breath from periodontal pockets is also the result of trapped bacteria inside the pockets, and tooth sensitivity may be the result of dental decay which can accompany advanced periodontal disease.

Diagnostic X-Rays

Diagnostic X-rays can help your family dentist confirm or rule out periodontal disease by revealing abnormalities of your jawbone, roots of your teeth, and other oral structures. Bitewing X-rays are very common and refer to dental X-rays that require the patient to bite down on a small piece of plastic or cardboard before the image is taken. Bitewings can reveal abnormalities of the bone that surrounds the teeth as well as dental decay and tooth abscesses, while periapical X-rays can generate images of the crowns of the teeth and the roots of the teeth.

Panoramic X-rays capture images of the entire oral cavity including the jaw bones and your temporomandibular joint, also known as the TMJ. In addition to your periodontal pocket assessment and oral X-rays, your family dentist will also assess your gums for bleeding, inflammation, lesions, and drainage. 

If you notice any of the above signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, make an appointment with a family dentist. An early diagnosis and effective treatment can help prevent bone and tooth loss while restoring your oral health.