Maintenance & Diagnosis

Maintenance

For plaques that are trapped between the teeth to become calculus (tartar), it takes approximately 24 hours. To control tartar and plaque formation, daily efforts in cleaning of the teeth may help although some hard to reach areas may need special attention.
Regular maintenance cleaning is usually recommended by your dentist once he has completed your periodontal treatment. This is usually done about four times in a year. During these appointments, the dentist checks the pocket depths to ensure they are healthy. The plaques and calculus will be removed from below and above the gum line.

  • Examination of existing restorations: Check the crowns and current fillings etc.
  • Examination of diagnostic X-rays (radiography): The X-ray is important in determining the position of the root and tooth. It also helps in detecting tumours, decay, cysts and bone loss.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All the surfaces of the tooth are checked for decay.
  • Oral hygiene recommendations: The oral hygiene aids that may be beneficial to the patient are recommended.
  • Oral Cancer Screening: The dentist checks the cheek tissues for signs of oral cancer.
  • Teeth Polishing: Plaques and stain are removed by the dentists.
Diagnosis

The diagnosis of periodontal disease is made by the dentist or a dental hygienist during an appointment of a periodontal examination. It is advisable that you include this exam in every dental check-up you undergo.

The sulcus (pocket or space) is measured by the use of a periodontal probe, a small dental instrument. A healthy sulcus has a depth of about three millimetres and does not have any sign of bleeding. The probe is used to determine a deeper pocket. The pockets only become deeper when periodontal disease progress.

There are signs that the dentist will watch out for and these include: volume of blood loss, pocket depths, and the tooth mobility and inflammation. These signs are used to form a diagnosis.

The following are the diagnoses that may be derived from the above signs:

  • Periodontitis: When plaques remain in the teeth for a long time, they harden to become calculus (tartar). As the formation of plaque and calculus continues, the gap between the gum and teeth begin to increase. Between the teeth and gum will contain deeper pockets which may become filled with pus and bacteria. Irritation, inflammation, and bleeding occur easily at the gums. There may be the presence of bone loss.
  • Gingivitis: This is known as the inflammation of the gums. It is the first sign noticed in periodontal disease. The gums are irritated by plaque and resulting to tenderness, inflammation, and bleeding.
  • Advanced Periodontitis: When the periodontal ligament, the bone, and the gums are destroyed continually, the teeth lose support and may become lost if not treated immediately. There may be moderate or severe bone loss.