How is Periodontal Disease Diagnosed?

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Our patients here at our dental office are often concerned about Periodontal disease also called gum disease. They are curious about prevention and how we diagnose it in our practice. Because it is usually painless, it is easy to develop gum disease and not know you have the disorder. This is especially true for patients who have gone for long periods of time with no dental care.

Our dentist finds most cases of periodontitis during routine dental exams. The earliest symptoms are easy for our periodontist in San Francisco to spot.
These signs include:
• RED AND SWOLLEN GUMS- These are one of the earliest signs of a problem with your gums. The gums react this way because they are fighting off the attacking infection.

• LOOSE TEETH- Unless you still have baby teeth, loose teeth are always a sign of a problem. Your tooth should stay anchored in place and never move. Even if your teeth that wiggle just a few millimeters, it could indicate gum disease.

• BLEEDING GUMS- Healthy gums do not bleed when gently brushed or flossed. The bleeding could mean you are overly aggressive when caring for your teeth, but it is quite likely that it is a signal of a periodontal problem.

If our dentist suspects gum disease, he will examine your teeth with a dental probe. The probe is a small and thin dental tool that measures, in millimeters, the size of gaps between your teeth and gums. Any pockets more than three millimeters deep indicate gum disease additionally, bleeding when our dentist inserts the dental probe is also a sign of periodontitis.

Another way to diagnose periodontal disease is with x-ray technology. A panoramic x-ray will show the level of bone around your teeth. If our dentist sees a variance of bone levels, it denotes gum disease.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can create problems like tooth infection, tooth loss, and bone loss. Fortunately, there are treatments which are highly successful in eliminating gum disease. These vary according to the severity of your condition.

The best option is to prevent periodontal disease by:
• Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush at least twice a day
• Flossing your teeth at bedtime
• Regular dental check-ups

If you suspect you have gum disease, or would like more information, please contact us. We are always happy to help.

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