Your dental check-up should always include a periodontal diagnosis exam. Your dentist or dental hygienist will perform this exam by using a small tool called a periodontal probe. This tool measures the spaces or pockets between your teeth (sulcus). A depth of 3mm or less and no bleeding is an indication of a healthy sulcus. The spaces usually increase as periodontal disease increases.
Based on the depth of the pockets, amount of bleeding, inflammation, and tooth flexibility, your dentist or hygienist determine with of the following is suited for your periodontal diagnosis:
The first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis is characterized by bleeding of the gums, and tender, inflamed skin due to bacteria and toxins.
Periodontitis is characterized by deeper pockets in the gums due to an excess of plaque and tartar. This causes the gums to recede from the teeth. As the pockets become deeper, they may become filled with bacteria and pus. You may experience slight to moderate bone loss and your gums may bleed easily.
During this stage, moderate to severe bone loss causes the teeth to loosen from the gums at an accelerated rate. The bone and periodontal ligament continue to wear down. Without treatment, tooth loss may occur.