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Diagnosis

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination. This type of exam should always be part of your regular dental check-up.

A periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. You may have heard your dentist calling off numbers (2, 3, 4, 3, 5 etc.) during your exam. These numbers relate to the depth of the pocket space. The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed. The periodontal probe helps indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters. As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets get deeper due to advancing bone loss.

Drs. Versman, Heller, Beckman, Thousand or one of our hygienists will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc., to make a diagnosis that will fall into a category below:

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.

Periodontitis

Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth and a deeper space develops between the gum and the root of the tooth. These deeper pockets become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.

Advanced Periodontitis

The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and eventually lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present. It is critical to treat gum disease at its earliest diagnosis. As the condition progresses, treatment becomes more complex and difficult. Please call our office if you have any questions concerning the diagnosis or treatment of gum disease.

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  • phil johnsonphil johnson

    Had a graft done by Dr Verseman (probably misspelled) He was understanding and compassionate. The graft was successful and the after care was great. I just started doing regular cleanings here and am happy to be cleaned by Alison. Thanks Guys!!!

  • Barbara SalesBarbara Sales

    I highly recommend Dr. Heller and everyone associated with Periodontal Associates. From the moment I walked in, through the entire several month process of receiving a dental implant, I was made to feel totally comfortable. As a somewhat nervous patient, this was so important to me! Every step of the process was explained to me and my questions were welcomed and answered. Dr. Heller is very personable, extremely competent, and thoughtful. I’m so grateful that I was referred to him, and I’m very happy with my implant.

  • Brian HurstBrian Hurst

    I had three grafts here and they did an fantastic job. Super informative on the procedure prior took good care that I was not in any pain and were great with the follow up and post op care. I would highly recommend them!!!

  • Carly KosikCarly Kosik

    The staff here is outstanding, both friendly and adept. I had a great experience and would highly recommend them to family and friends.

  • Tom MargenauTom Margenau

    The staff and Dr Heller made me feel comfortable. Everything went smoothly and I'm happy with the results. Thank you all.

  • Melissa H.Melissa H.

    Let's be honest here - there is nothing fun about having gum surgery. However, the staff and Dr. Heller were as good as it gets with regard to my treatment....

  • Lynne K.Lynne K.

    I've been seen by Dr Beckmann since he joined the practice. I know he and his staff truly care about their patients and their dental health. Very...

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