A small dental instrument named periodontal probe is used to measure the sulfurs known as pocket or space between the tooth and the gums. The depth of a healthy sulfurs measurement is three millimeters or less and should show that your gums do not bleed. This instrument helps to indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters. As periodontal disease develops, gradually the pockets get deeper.
The dentist or hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc. to diagnose that will fall into a following category:
Gingivitis is considered the first step of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and about to bleed.
Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). Since calculus and plaque continue to form, the gums begin to reduce form the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums becomes very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.
The teeth starts losing support since the gums, bone and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. If they are not treated, the affected teeth may become very loose and may be lost. We can say that moderate to severe bone loss may occur.
If your diagnosis concludes that you do have periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend periodontal maintenance as treatment to resolve the issue.