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Periodontal Disease Diagnosis, your First step to effective treatment and restoring gum health

More than four of every 10 American adults have some form of gum disease. The earlier that at Abel, Phan, & Associates in Potomac Falls and Sterling, Virginia, we can pinpoint and detect gum (periodontal) inflammation, the better. Gum disease is a destructive, progressive process. When a diagnosis is made early into the condition, Drs Anna Abel and Chuong Phan can promptly design an effective treatment plan personalized to your needs. Such therapy can reverse the effects of earlier-stage gum disease (gingivitis) and prevent the disease’s destructive forms, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Late-stage periodontal disease threatens the structural integrity and health of the tooth. We count on healthy gums, after all, to support our teeth! 

The power of precision diagnostics 

Effective treatment is built on a foundation of routine, preventive services. Preventive visits are generally scheduled at least once every six months. Drs Abel and Phan may recommend more frequent visits for patients at increased risk of developing gum disease. 

Risk factors include: 

  • Smoking 
  • Use of tobacco products
  • Inadequate brushing and flossing 
  • Poor nutrition 
  • Worn-down or old crowns, fillings, and other dental restorations
  • Comorbidities, such as uncontrolled diabetes
  • Medications to manage chronic conditions, and which contribute to dry mouth

During these routine appointments, our dentists and hygienists will use their prowess and advanced technologies to assess the state of your gummy tissue. We use a specialized tool or dental probe to measure the spaces (pockets) between the teeth and gums. As gum disease progresses, the supportive soft tissue pulls away from the teeth. So, the size of the pockets tells us a lot about the stage of the disease. Understanding the extent of the condition empowers us to prescribe the best procedure or products to resolve the infection and restore the gums to health effectively. 

Pocket measurements (and what they mean) are as follows: 

  • 1 to 3 mm = “baseline” or healthy tissue
  • 4 mm = gingivitis (early-stage gum disease)
  • 5 to 6 mm = minor periodontitis (advanced gum disease)
  • 6 to 8 mm = moderate periodontitis 
  • 8 to 12 mm = severe periodontitis

These hygiene appointments also include professional cleanings by one of our skilled dental hygienists. Cleanings eradicate bacteria, toxic byproducts, plaque, and hardened tartar or calculus. Additionally, depending on what we find during your exam, we may recommend a “deep clean,” known as scaling and root planing, or surgical periodontal pocket reduction. We also partner with some of the area’s top specialists in gum health, periodontists to resolve more severe cases of periodontitis. Call us at (571) 450-9848 to schedule your appointment.