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Clinical Examination

A comprehensive periodontal examination allows us to identify and assess periodontal concerns in our patients. Radiographic assessment of dental X-rays provides critical additional information to help us establish an accurate diagnosis.

Our primary goal is to asses the degree of tooth attachment loss.  In general, a healthy mouth has:

  • A space (2-3 mm deep) between the tooth and the gum (as space deepens, a pocket forms that accumulates bacteria).
  • A minimum amount of bacterial plaque build-up - improved oral hygiene techniques and home-care tools can significantly help patients with better plaque control.
  • An absence of recession - recession often occurs in areas with insufficient thickness of gum (called "attached gingiva") leading to increased sensitivity, poor esthetics.
  • An absence of gum inflammation and bleeding - inflammation is caused by a significant increase in accumulated number of bacteria that colonize below the gums.
  • An absence of mobility (looseness) - mobility occurs as the bacterial toxins deteriorate the jawbone support for the tooth.  This loss is generally irreversible.
  • An absence of furcation involvement - furcation involvement occurs when bone loss extends between the tooth roots and is a major risk factor for tooth loss.
  • A stable occlusion (bite) - excessive forces on teeth increase the risk of bone loss.

The goal of the clinical exam is to measure these important parameters:

  • Size of pocket depth
  • Amount of plaque build-up
  • Degree of recession
  • Degree of gum inflammation and bleeding
  • Degree of mobility
  • Level of furcation involvement
  • Stability of occlusion

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