The dental practitioner typically performs a number of procedures to determine a diagnosis of periodontal disease.
The dentist will first take a medical history to reveal any past or present periodontal problems, any underlying diseases that might be contributing to the problem, and any medications the patient is taking. After noting the general state of oral hygiene, the dentist may ask about the quality of home dental care.
Inspection of the Gum Area. The dentist inspects the color and shape of gingival tissue on the cheek (buccal) side and the tongue (lingual) side of every tooth and compares these qualities to the healthy ideal. Redness, puffiness, and bleeding upon probing indicate inflammation. If the gum formation between teeth is blunt and not pointed, acute necrotizing periodontal disease may be indicated.
Periodontal Screening and Recording (PSR). PSR is a painless procedure used to measure and determine the severity of periodontal disease:
These measurements help determine the condition of the connective tissue and amount of gingival overgrowth or recession.
Testing Tooth Movement. Tooth mobility is determined by pushing each tooth between two instrument handles and observing any movement. Mobility is a strong indicator of bone support loss.
X-rays. X-rays are taken to show any loss of bone structure supporting the teeth. Eighteen x-rays make up the full mouth series necessary for diagnosis.
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