"Now that I use PerioWise probes my
patients are much more comfortable and do not fear being probed as they did
with metal probes. The PerioWise patient education material is excellent and
makes it very easy for my patients to grasp the difference between health and
disease. Using a mirror so the patient can see, I like to show a healthy site
and then a diseased site. The impact is great. I really like these probes".
Maureen Wadsworth, RDH Norristown, PA.
disease is one of mankind's most common afflictions. It is about as common as
the common cold. It is estimated that over 75 percent of our adult population
will have it to a greater or lesser degree during their lifetime.
early detection and treatment of periodontal disease is now more important than
ever. Research indicates that periodontal disease may be a risk factor for
stroke and possibly for
pre-term low birth weight babies. It can also adversely
affect the regulation of blood glucose in diabetics. One can now reasonably
draw the analogy, based on this evidence, that testing for periodontal disease
is beginning to assume the same importance as testing for high blood pressure
and elevated blood cholesterol.
disease remains the chief cause of tooth loss in adults. Tooth loss can
result in impaired chewing and speaking, an unpleasing smile and bite problems
that can lead to painful chewing muscles and headaches. Periodontal disease can
be a primary cause of halitosis (bad breath), which is a concern for everyone.
The disease can be spread through
members. There are many
misconceptions concerning periodontal diseases such as
"bleeding gums are normal", "all dentists check for gum disease" and "gum
health doesn't affect overall body health".
Bacteria on teeth called
dental plaque cause periodontal disease. These bacteria infect
the gum tissue and the infection can destroy the
bone that holds the teeth in place. Plaque forms constantly but can be
controlled by brushing and flossing. The control of plaque is the
key to maintaining periodontal health. Plaque can harden into calculus
("tartar") which is rough, hard and difficult to remove. Your dentist or
hygienist can remove it and it is important to do so.
Smoking and a
genetic predisposition to developing severe periodontal disease are important
risk factors in how severe your periodontal breakdown may be. A person's
periodontal status can vary from healthy to several levels of disease. The
earlier periodontal disease is detected the easier and less costly it is to
treat. To test for the presence or absence of periodontal disease, your dentist
or hygienist can perform a simple and painless test using a periodontal probe,
a sort of "gum ruler". During the examination he or she measures the depth of
the space between the tooth and gum by gently inserting a periodontal probe.
It is normal for the depth of the space to be 1-3mm.
plastic, flexible tipped green and red color-coded probe has been shown to be easier to
read, more comfortable for patients and enables patients to more easily
understand their periodontal status, than the old conventional metal
status is usually divided into several categories based on what is found
during the probing examination. The categories are generally, Health,
Gingivitis or Periodontitis, mild to severe. One tooth, several teeth or the
entire dentition can be affected. Here are some examples of different levels of
periodontal health demonstrated with the new color-coded probe.
band on the probe measures three millimeters. This means that if the green band
is visible when probing, and there is no bleeding, there is a state of Health.
Remember that it is normal to have a space that measures 1-3 mm. in
Easier To Read,
Gentle On Tissue
The green color is visible and there is
the first and earliest stage of Periodontal Disease. It is marked by a change
in the gum tissue, but not the bone. The hallmark of gingivitis is bleeding
upon probing. Gingivitis is easy to treat and usually only requires
professional cleaning(s) and improved home care techniques. In other words it
The green color is still visible,
but, there is bleeding when probing.
stage of periodontal disease is called Periodontitis. Its hallmark is the loss
of the supporting bone of the teeth. Periodontitis may be mild, moderate or
severe, depending on the severity of the bone loss. Remember, one tooth,
several teeth or all the teeth may be involved. The severity of bone loss can
be detected by how deep the periodontal probe can go. The deeper the probe, the
more advanced the disease. X-ray pictures of the teeth and bone are imperative
in order to ascertain the precise amount and type of bone loss. Treatment of
Periodontitis depends on many factors including the severity of the disease and
whether the patient is genetically predisposed to develop severe periodontitis,
which can be determined by a blood test. In mild cases treatment may only
require simple procedures such as removal of calculus from the roots of the
affected teeth and improved oral hygiene techniques. In more advanced cases,
gum surgery, which can eliminate disease and in many instances regenerate lost
bone and gum tissue to re-establish health is recommended. Sometimes, if the
bone loss around a tooth or teeth is excessive, tooth removal may be required.
The good news is that these teeth can be replaced with
The green color is not visible.
The deeper the probe goes, the more advanced the disease.
detection of periodontal disease is of paramount importance.
The American Academy of
Periodontology, the world's leading authority in Periodontology, recommends
to the consumer; "that all patients be screened for periodontal diseases on a
regular basis" and that "Patients should be informed of the state of their
periodontal health at every examination".
This is very sound advice
and can help you keep your body healthy and your happy healthy smile for a
lifetime! Have you been
periodontal disease? If not, why not?