When it comes to dental terminology, the periodontal depth test is one of the most important terms that you have likely never heard about. Along with being relatively unknown, outside of the dental profession, it is also one of the most useful and important tests, one that is performed by dentists and periodontists all over the world.
So, what is a periodontal depth test and why might I need one? This is a common question that is often asked, though practically all of us have one each time we visit for a dental check-up.
Periodontal Depth Test Explained
When the dentist or hygienist examines our teeth and starts calling out a series of numbers, chances are that you are in the middle of a periodontal depth test. These seemingly random numbers correspond with the number of millimeters between the gum-line and where the gum attaches to the tooth.
The top of the gum itself doesn’t attach to the tooth, rather there is a pouch called the gum pocket, at the bottom of which the teeth connect with the gum tissue. The size of the pockets represent what is measured in a periodontal depth test. A periodontal probe is used to quickly and painlessly measure the different depths of each tooth’s pocket, which are then recorded and stored in the patient file.
Effectiveness Of A Periodontal Depth Test
The test itself is relatively simple in application, though is a particularly effective way of assessing if your teeth and gums are in good health. By measuring the depth each time you visit the dentist, and comparing this to your previous results, it helps to highlight the early signs of gum disease, in addition to other complications that might develop.
Generally speaking, a gum pocket depth between 1 to 3 mm is a good sign of oral health, whereas 4 mm and higher indicates that there could be a problem. While it is a useful initial indicator, a deeper pocket could also be the sign of temporarily swollen gums, or excessive gum tissue, along with misaligned teeth, or bone loss.
Your Next Dental Visit
Therefore, the next time you visit your dentist and they start to call out a range of numbers while examining your teeth, you’ll know that you are in the middle of the all-important periodontal depth test.
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