The Importance of Periodontal Charting

You may assume that your routine dental appointment is all about getting your teeth cleaned. However, while the professional teeth cleaning is a vital component, there is much more that goes on during this visit. In fact, your dentist performs a number of evaluations to check the condition of your teeth and gums. When problems are caught early, they can be treated more easily and conservatively.

One of the most common terms you’ll hear during your routine visit is periodontal charting.

Periodontal charting is a way to detect early gum disease by keeping an organized chart of your gum measurements. More specifically, the gum pockets are measured, which is the distance of the area between your gum and your tooth. Don’t worry; periodontal charting is painless and you may only know it is taking place when you hear your dentist call out a series of numbers to the hygienist as he gently taps along your gum line.

What Does Gum Charting Tell Us?

When the gums become inflamed or infected, the progression of the disease includes the gradual detaching of the gums from the tooth root and eventual bone loss underneath the gums. Since these symptoms can be gradual and subtle, a periodontal chart can accurately reveal gums that are being degraded by periodontal disease.

What Do the Numbers Mean?

While you won’t have to keep up with the millimeters yourself, your dentist has a very clear understanding of what measurements constitute “healthy gums” and which ones indicate diseased gums. In general, healthy gums have pockets that are usually 2-3mm, and anything more than 5mm means the bone that supports your tooth may be damaged by periodontal disease. The periodontal charting numbers along with gum disease symptoms (bleeding, swelling, etc) can give your dentist valued insight as to whether or not you need periodontal therapy. Periodontal charting can also be a simple way to help you avoid tooth loss if the disease becomes advanced.

To learn more about the importance of periodontal charting or other services that occur during routine dental visits at Park South Dentistry, please call our New York office today.

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