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Screening for Periodontal Disease

The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually given to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.

Screening Tests

  • Dental exam—Your dentist will perform a careful survey of the appearance of your gums. Each tooth will be checked for looseness, and your dentist will use a probe to identify and measure any spaces, known as pockets, between your gums and teeth. If you have periodontal disease, these pockets will measure more than 3 mm (millimeters) in depth.
  • Dental x-ray —This type of x-ray may reveal whether or not the bones that support your teeth show signs of deterioration. Evidence of bone loss around teeth is one of the signs of more advanced periodontal disease.

Screening Guidelines

According to the American Dental Association, you should have a regular dental checkup every six months. Screening for periodontal disease should be part of every regular dental examination.

References

Gum disease. American Dental Association's Mouth Healthy website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease. Accessed October 14, 2013.

Gum disease information. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: http://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease.htm. Accessed October 14, 2013.

Periodontal (gum) disease. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/GumDisease. Accessed October 14, 2013.

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