spacer
Houston Laser Family & Cosmetic Dentist
spacer
Houston Dentist Home Houston Cosmetic Dentist Houston Pediatric Dentistry Appointment with Cosmetic Dentist in Houston Testimonials About Our Houston Dentist Contact Houston Dental Office
Houston Dentist : Dental  Article Houston Dentist Article
About Us < Dental Services < Initial dental exam < The diagnostic process
  Dr Minh Nguyen
spacer spacer
  The Dental Team
spacer spacer
 arrow Dental Services
spacer spacer
Dental Technology
spacer spacer
Periodontal probing
Periodontal probing
Red swollen gum
Examination of gum
x-ray shows bone resorption
Bone loss is permanent
Progression of dental caries
Progress of dental decay

The Diagnostic Process of Your Dental Health

The diagnosis of periodontal disease and cavities are two important parts of a dental examination.

How we diagnose periodontal disease

Since you may have periodontal disease without experiencing any symptoms, we perform a thorough examination using X-rays and a periodontal probe. Healthy gums fit tight against the teeth and have no pockets. When the bone levels fall as a result of periodontal disease, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets. We measure the depth of any pockets with a periodontal probe. The probe measures the distance from the bottom of the pocket, where the gum is attached to the tooth, to the top of the gums. In general, the deeper the pockets, the greater the extent of periodontal disease.

We also examine the color, shape, and overall condition of the gums. Bleeding is a sign of infection; healthy gums don’t bleed. Healthy gums are firm and lightly stippled. In moderate cases of periodontal disease, we see red and swollen gums.

X-rays tell us a lot about periodontal disease. In a healthy mouth, the bone comes up high around the necks of the teeth, and the bone level is even throughout the mouth. With advanced periodontal disease, the bone levels are much lower and are uneven.

We look for the following signs to diagnose periodontal disease:

  • probe readings greater than three millimeters;
  • bleeding upon probing;
  • swollen and red gums, especially between the teeth; and
  • bone loss or tartar buildup indicated by X-rays.

How we diagnose decay

Periodontal disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque. The bacteria in plaque also produce acid that destroys the enamel of your teeth and causes cavities. To find cavities, we perform a visual examination and take X-rays. Using a dental explorer, we check the tops and sides of your teeth for surface cavities. To look for cavities between teeth, we use X-rays.

It’s far better to diagnose and repair cavities early, while they’re still small and isolated in the enamel layer of the tooth. Once they’ve spread to the softer dentin layer, they grow far more quickly and can cause a whole new set of problems, such as root canals.

The dental profession has assigned each tooth a number, and every surface of a tooth a letter. If we find cavities in your teeth, you’ll hear us name the numbers and letters for each one. Of course, we hope that you keep all the plaque off of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly so that you’ll never need to hear these numbers and letters.

You may also be interested in:

Infection control in our Houston dental office
Nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas)
HIPPA Notice of Privacy Practice
Understanding dental insurance
Dental rubber dam
Oral cancer exam by your dentist
Sensitive teeth: the causes and treatment options
Dental bitewing x-rays
Complete series of dental x-rays
Panorex-panographic dental x-ray

Bookmark this page to:
del.icio.us, Digg, Furl, reddit,    Find us on   Find us on
spacer

American Academy of Cosmetic DentistryHouston dentist-SoftdentalspacerHome | About Us | Appointments | Testimonials | Contact Us | Sitemap
Member of American Dental Association Dental News xml feed©2004-2005 SoftDental. All rights reserved.

10028 West Road, Ste. 108, Houston, Texas 77064. Tel: 281-807-6111. Fax: 281-807-6277. email: office@softdental.com