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What Is Periodontal Probing and Do I Need It?

February 22, 2018

What Is Periodontal Probing?

Periodontal probing is a common procedure done by your dental professional to check your gum health. Periodontal probing involves taking measurements of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth. Six measurements are taken of the gum tissue around each tooth in your mouth. These measurements give an accurate assessment of your gum health. However, other factors also contribute towards an overall snapshot of mouth health.

How Is It Done?

A diagnostic tool called a periodontal probe is used for periodontal probing. It is a thin instrument with a measuring tip at the end that is used to record pocket depths. A pocket is the area of space between the gum tissue and the tooth. Ever had a popcorn kernel or strawberry seed stuck under your gums?This is the area that the probe measures. However, probing is not an unpleasant experience like a stuck popcorn kernel. In health, the measurement is between 1 to 3 mm. Additionally, bleeding is not present during the procedure in a healthy mouth.

Why Is It Needed?

If your gums bleed or if your pocket measurements are over 4 mm, those are symptoms of gum disease. However, in severe cases, it may signal periodontal disease. During your comprehensive oral exam, or your periodontal cleaning, probing measurements may be taken. Bleeding during probing signals an area affected by gum disease or gingivitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Bleeding gums are one symptom of gingivitis. Measurements above 5 mm means those areas have bone loss. Bone loss occurs when gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. Periodontitis involves loss of bone and gum tissue.

Keeping your periodontal record up-to-date allows dental health professionals to assess the health of your gums. Periodontal records allow them to track and compare your gum health over time. Even better, these records help to restore your oral health when experiencing gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Gums in an unhealthy state contribute to tooth loss and other adverse effects. Additional issues include adverse effects to health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular complications or premature births.

What Can I Do?

Be sure to have regular periodontal cleanings to ensure optimal periodontal health. Also, ensure that your periodontal measurements are taken to help keep you on top of your oral health. Good Oral health contributes towards better overall health.

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