How Periodontists Evaluate for Gum Disease

Do your gums bleed when you floss or brush? Are your gums tender to the touch and appear puffy and red? Do you experience a lingering bad taste in your mouth, even after you brush your teeth? It may be time for a professional assessment for periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. To evaluate you for gum disease, a periodontist will analyze a number of components.

Sore MouthFirst, your periodontist will ask whether you’ve experienced any oral bleeding, swelling, or bad taste. You will also be asked about your overall health, because certain medications, medical treatments, and systemic issues can affect gum tissue health. It is important to answer these questions honestly because your replies will help the doctor evaluate the severity of your gum infection.

Also, the doctor will scrutinize the color and character of the gum tissue. Light pink, firm gum tissue indicates healthy teeth-supporting structures. Conversely, inflamed and recessed gum tissue reveals bacterial infection, the hallmark of periodontal disease.

Additionally, the periodontist will take your probing depths. Probing involves gently measuring the space, called “pockets,” between the tooth and the gum. The more space, the more diseased the tissue is. A probing depth of just zero to three millimeters is normal and indicates relatively healthy tissue. Three to five millimeters of space is cause for concern. Space of five or more millimeters indicates active periodontal disease.

Another sign of gum disease is whether the gums bleed or discharge exudate (pus) upon probing. It is abnormal for healthy gums to excrete blood and pus. On the other hand, bacterial infections cause these symptoms in individuals with periodontal disease.

The hardest part of seeking professional help for periodontal disease is simply picking up the phone to schedule an appointment. But once you have been assessed for periodontal disease, you and your periodontist will create and implement an action plan to start you on the journey towards healthy gums. You will be so glad you took that first step of scheduling your visit.

Have questions? Give us a call at (919) 518-8919. We’d love to speak with you!