Interactive Periodontal Probing Summit, NJ
Interactive periodontal probing, or periodontal testing, is a method used to measure pocket depths around a tooth and establish a patient's state of health. Periodontists conduct these tests to determine tooth or gum-related issues as well as underlying health conditions that present themselves through gum health. Periodontal probing also helps the patient gain an in-depth understanding of each tooth's state and the mouth's overall condition. The test can also diagnose a patient with periodontal disease in its early stages.
Interactive periodontal probing is available at Summit Periodontics & Dental Implants in Summit and the surrounding area. Our staff can help you learn more about the test and answer any questions you have. Call us at (908) 219-6664 to schedule a consultation appointment today.
What is Interactive Periodontal Probing?
Periodontal probing and charting allow dentists to assess a patient's risk of acquiring periodontal disease as well as other oral and systemic diseases. The examination itself is referred to as probing, while charting occurs during and after the examination. Periodontal charting is the record of measurements taken during the exam that stays in the patient's dental health file.
Periodontal probing is considered interactive as the dentist and patient both gain an in-depth understanding of each tooth's state and the mouth's overall condition. These insights help us create a complete treatment plan that targets any conditions affecting the patient's oral health. The test can also detect early gum disease or diagnose a patient with periodontal disease in its early stage.
“Periodontal probing and charting allow dentists to assess a patient’s risk of acquiring periodontal disease as well as other oral and systemic diseases.”
How Periodontal Probing is Performed
Before the periodontal test, the dentist will likely review medical and dental histories, identify any factors contributing to symptoms, and examine the mouth. We recommend a thorough examination of the mouth prior to the periodontal test to check for any abnormalities or easy bleeding.
The test is performed by measuring the pocket depth of the grooves between the gums and teeth. We place a dental probe (a very thin, narrow instrument) beside your tooth beneath your gum line and scan over every tooth. The pocket depth in a healthy mouth is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters (mm). Pockets deeper than 4 mm may indicate periodontitis. It is not easy to clean pockets deeper than 5 mm, so we will go over possible options during the appointment. We will record these numbers on a periodontal chart.
“The pocket depth in a healthy mouth is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters (mm).”
Periodontal Charting & What it Reveals
The chart is a pictorial representation of the mouth and includes graphics and information pertaining to the tests conducted during the first appointment. The types of conditions and issues that a periodontal test and chart reveal can include:
- Abnormalities in the teeth, such as rotations, erosion, or abrasions in the teeth or enamel
- Any movement in the teeth
- Areas of decay (cavities)
- Attachment of teeth to the gums
- Damage to the teeth
- Depths of your gum pockets, bleeding points during probing, and gum recession
- Missing teeth
- Presence of crowns, bridges, implants, and fillings
Periodontal charting is a part of a patient's dental or gum chart that indicates the state of the teeth and mouth's health. A periodontal chart includes six measurements (in millimeters) that are taken around each tooth. Along with pocket depth measurements, we check for bleeding in the gum tissue and any areas of gum recession.
“Periodontal charting is a part of a patient’s dental or gum chart that indicates the state of the teeth and mouth’s health.”
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Periodontal probing and charting allow us to assess a patient's risk of acquiring periodontal disease as well as other oral and systemic diseases. A periodontal chart reveals which factors are in play and their causes. Through risk assessment, we can determine whether a patient is already at risk of developing an oral condition or will be at risk because of other determining factors.
Risk assessments classify risks in terms of risk factors, risk indicators, and risk predictors. Risk factors include age, tobacco use, diabetes, stress, genetics, pregnancy, cardiovascular diseases, and poor oral hygiene. Risk indicators indicate whether visible risk factors, such as the presence of herpes viruses in subgingival plaque, are the cause of an oral or systemic condition. Risk predictors are factors that have no current biological causing agent but have been associated with the disease. For example, the number of missing teeth is a risk predictor for disease but may not indicate current periodontitis.
“Risk assessments classify risks in terms of risk factors, risk indicators, and risk predictors.”
Questions Answered on This Page
People Also Ask
Who Should Receive Periodontal Testing
Although some people may be more at risk than others in terms of developing periodontal disease, the American Academy of Periodontology recommends all adults receive annual screenings. A Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation, or CPE, assesses the patient's periodontal health by examining their teeth, amount of plaque, gums, bite, bone structure, and risk factors. Periodontal testing and the CPE are often done during any new patient's initial appointment.
Patients who are at high risk of developing periodontal disease may need to undergo testing more than once a year. High-risk factors include:
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease
- Certain medications that cause dry mouth or gum changes
- Conditions that cause decreased immunity, such as leukemia, HIV/AIDS, and cancer treatment
- Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy or menopause
- Inadequate nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency
- Poor oral health habits
- Recreational drug use, such as smoking marijuana or vaping
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
“…the American Academy of Periodontology recommends all adults receive annual screenings.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How often should periodontal probing be done?
A. Most dentists and periodontists recommend all adults be tested once a year to reduce risks and prevalence of the disease. However, we may recommend a patient undergo periodontal probing more than once if we suspect any risk factors or developing conditions. A patient may also request an evaluation if they have symptoms, pain in the gums, or excessive bleeding.
Q. Does periodontal probing hurt?
A. Periodontal probing should not cause pain or discomfort unless the tissue is inflamed or the dentist's technique is heavy-handed. If the tissue is inflamed and sore, we use a small amount of topical anesthetic to alleviate discomfort. We do our best to be soft-handed and handle the instrument carefully to smoothen the glide over the teeth.
Q. Does periodontal probing cause the gums to bleed?
A. Gingival bleeding is largely influenced by probing pressure, technique, and type of periodontal probe. Excessive pressure and improper technique can cause healthy tissue to bleed. Bleeding tendency is higher in thinner gingival tissue compared to thicker tissue. These factors are assessed during our examination of the mouth and will be discussed prior to probing.
Q. If I am diagnosed with periodontal disease, how often do I need to come in for cleanings?
A. Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection and therefore, these deep infected areas are not accessible by brushing and flossing. We need to manually remove all the bacterial toxins with specialized ultrasonic or hand instruments not readily available in store. To prevent further bone loss or gum breakdown, receive regular cleanings at least once every 90-120 days.
Q. How often is periodontal charting done?
A. Periodontal charting is typically done once, during the patient's first periodontal probing examination. However, we will continue to update their chart during each examination as they undergo treatments. In many cases, a patient's periodontal chart will show improved numbers as they correct or improve any oral health conditions affecting their gum health. In advanced stages of periodontal disease, we would have gone over other treatment options during the initial periodontal test.
Start Feeling Better – Visit Us Today
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with treatment options.
- Comprehensive periodontal evaluation
- A way to assess a patient’s periodontal health by examining their teeth, plaque level, gums, and bite.
- Interactive periodontal probing
- A method used to measure pocket depths around a tooth and establish a patient’s state of health.
- Periodontal charting
- A way of measuring and recording the space between a tooth and the gum tissue next to it.
- The branch of dentistry concerned with the structures surrounding and supporting the teeth.
Call Us Today
Do not wait for gum disease to become irreversible. Ask us about periodontal probing and find out whether the exam is right for you. Call us today at (908) 219-6664 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
Helpful Related Links
- American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). 2023
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Periodontal Disease Page. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Periodontal Disease Page. 2023
- WebMD, What Is a Periodontist?. WebMD, What Is a Periodontist?. 2023
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