Timbercrest Dental Center

How Do I Know If I Have Periodontal Disease? (Part 1)

Dr. John Luther

Dr. John Luther, D.D.S. & Founder

Nov 20, 2012

When you come to Timbercrest Dental Center for an initial or scheduled maintenance appointment, Dr. Luther or one of his hygienists will check for periodontal (perio) disease.

They check for perio disease by:

  • observing the color and firmness of the gum tissue (should be pink and firm)

    Courtesy of Open Access Biomedical Image Search Engine

  • measuring the space between your teeth and gums (healthy probe depths are 1-3 mm) with a small instrument called a periodontal probe
  • taking and viewing recent x-rays to see how your bone supports the tooth root
  • checking how your teeth fit together

Healthy gum tissue fits around a tooth like a glove. When someone has perio disease, the gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces called pockets – which are caused by bacteria and in turn harbors more bacteria. Without treatment, the bone supporting the teeth become damaged and cause mobility, which ultimately results in loss of teeth.

In a recent 2012 survey of U.S. citizens by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) 47% of Americans are afflicted with periodontal disease. Because clinical research suggests that diabetes and heart disease are linked to perio disease, it’s important to your overall health to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

If you experience any of the following, please call our office for an appointment right away – you may have perio disease:

  • gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
  • red, swollen and tender gums
  • chronic bad breath
  • loose teeth
  • a change in how your teeth fit together
  • a change in how your partial dentures fit
  • gums that have pulled away from your teeth

Here’s Part 2: I Was Diagnosed With Perio Disease…Now What Do I Do?


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