3 Ways Periodontists Assess The Severity Of Gum Disease

When you go to the periodontist at a clinic like Cumberland Periodontal Associate for an assessment, your practitioner will perform a full examination to determine the severity of your gum disease symptoms. Gum disease starts in the first stage, called gingivitis, and progresses to advanced periodontitis in the fourth and final stage. After this point, you could start to lose teeth and require dental implants to fix the damage. With an assessment of the gum disease stage, your periodontist can enact a treatment plan designed to reverse the damage and reduce the chance of complications. Here are three areas periodontists explore to gauge gum disease severity.

Examine Gum Color

The color of your gums immediately indicates their overall health. Healthy gums unaffected by disease are often light pink in color and rapidly respond to pressure tests. By placing a light amount of pressure on your gums and then releasing, your periodontist can assess blood flow by measuring the time it takes your gums to return to their base color. As gum disease develops and worsens, your gums will start to turn a deep red or magenta color and take an increasingly long time to return to their base shade after pressure is applied.

Measure Periodontal Pockets

Periodontitis causes your gums to detach from the base of your tooth, starting from the gum line and going down to the root. When this happens, the bone around the base of your tooth starts to recede as well. Your periodontist will measure these pockets by inserting a probe beneath the gum line around each tooth. The pocket depth directly correlates with the advancement of periodontitis. As the pockets deepen, plaque starts to form beneath the gum line, potentially causing cavities and associated complications to develop.

Check For Loose Teeth

Even without the development of cavities, deep periodontal pockets reduce bone mass so much that your teeth start to feel loose in their sockets. Loose teeth indicate that your gum disease has reached the final stage of the disease. Without prompt treatment, the teeth could fall out, which could further worsen bone loss. At this point, all you can do is have your periodontist place implants in the sockets to prevent bone loss, bite changes and chewing or talking difficulties.

Scheduling Your Appointment

Time is of the essence when dealing with gum disease. In the early stages, your periodontist can perform restorative procedures and prescribe an at-home care routine to reverse the damage caused by gum disease. You must visit your periodontist regularly to prevent the condition from worsening and causing complications, especially tooth loss. If you notice the early signs of gum disease, such as any bleeding from your gums while brushing or flossing, schedule an appointment with your periodontist right away.