Periodontal disease is detected during a thorough examination and is part of your regular (yearly) dental check-up.

A periodontal probe is gently used by your hygienist to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) depth at the gums line of each tooth. Ideally the depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed.  The periodontal probe helps indicate if pockets are unhealthy.  As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper and bleeding more sever.

Using pocket depths, amount of bleeding, reddened swelling (inflammation), and tooth mobility, etc. you will be placed into one of the categories listed below:


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


Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar) which is full of toxins.  As calculus build up increases, the gums begin to recede.and deeper pockets form often noticeably filled with pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed even more easily.  You may begin to notice slight to moderate tooth mobility.

Advanced Periodontitis

The teeth lose more support as the gums and bone continue to be destroyed.  Unless treated, the affected teeth will become quite loose and eventually may be lost.  By this time generalized moderate to severe bone loss may have occurred and your teeth may not be salvageable.

If you have questions about periodontitis or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.

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