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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