What are periodontal screenings?
Periodontal screenings are brief, routine checks of the health of your gums and the structures that surround the teeth. They are essential to your overall dental care plan. Periodontal Screening and Recording is recommended by the Journal of the American Dental Association, and used to catch periodontal disease early.
At your next hygiene appointment, our hygienist will use a probe to measure the depth of gum recession and depth of pockets between teeth and gums. Next, they will record a score between 0 (completely healthy) to 4 (further examination needed). Finally, the hygienist will recommend periodontal treatment for any areas of high concern.
The hygienist will also guide you in better hygiene habits to prevent future problems.
What is periodontal disease?
If your brushing and flossing routine is inconsistent, you can develop inflamed, red, bleeding gums. Additionally, poor dental hygiene habits cause a buildup of bacteria in the gums, which leads to infection.
Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:
- Swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums
- Receding gums or gaps between teeth and gums
- Bad taste in the mouth or persistent bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Pus at the base of the tooth in the gums
Why should I be concerned about my gums?
You may be asking yourself, "Why is my gum health important?" Untreated periodontal disease can lead to teeth that need to be extracted, or in severe cases may fall out on their own.
Researchers have also linked periodontal disease to various health complications, including: unchecked blood sugars in diabetics, premature birth, lung infections, increased risk of stroke, increased risk of stroke and heart conditions.
- It is painful? Those with healthy gums will experience no discomfort during a periodontal screening. However, anyone experiencing tenderness already may find the slight prod of the probe uncomfortable. Speak to the hygienist first if you are concerned about discomfort.
- Are there any risks? Screenings are non-invasive and risk free for healthy patients. Those with heart or joint replacements, diabetics, or those with hemorrhagic issues may be at slight risk of infection. However screenings should still be performed. If you have any concerns, speak with the dentist first to discuss steps for reducing risk.
- How often do I need to get a screening done? We recommend that you see your hygienist every six months for a complete cleaning and periodontal screening.
We regularly include periodontal screenings in our hygiene appointments, and know exactly what to check for to ensure that your overall dental health is addressed.