Gums, gums & teeth, Health

The Periodontal Exam Explained: The Reason for All That Poking

What Is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a chronic bacterial infection that causes inflammation in your gums and the supporting structures of your teeth.

How Is Periodontitis Diagnosed?

You know those numbers, “two, two, three,” “three, two, three,” that your hygienist reads out while poking around your teeth with a pointy metal instrument? Your hygienist is using a periodontal probe (Don’t worry — it’s not actually sharp!) to gently measure the space, or “pocket,” between your teeth and gums, usually six measurements per tooth.

A normal, healthy pocket is around 1 to 3 millimeters deep. In early gum disease, or gingivitis, pocket depth ranges from 4 to 5 millimeters. When gum disease goes unchecked, these pockets deepen as the bone supporting your teeth recedes — potentially leading to tooth loss.

Attention Dental Pros! Pick up FREE print-outs of this periodontitis primer to share with your patients or order it as a beautiful framed poster to brighten your office walls. Visit our pro site today.


Like tasty surprises?

Like tasty surprises?

Be the first to know about new craveable recipes and tips for living your best life.