Patients do not often notice the symptoms of gingival diseases. They go to the doctor already when teeth begin moving or a tooth cannot be saved any more. Therefore, it is important to increase awareness among patients as well as dentists so that they notice early signs of inflammation of the teeth attachment apparatus and can change oral hygiene practices at home to prevent more extensive problems later.
To diagnose gingival diseases, gingival pockets are measured and biofilm is detected with a special blunt tip probe with millimetre gradation. This enables to measure the gingival pockets and determine the periodontal status, so that the extent of the disease can be identified and further treatment planned. The procedure also helps to determine bleeding and plaque around teeth, specifics of teeth anatomy and teeth mobility.
Another important part in diagnosing is a periodontal X-ray examination, which usually involves taking around 20 shots showing the extent and character of bone loss around every tooth (whether the bone loss has occurred evenly or if there are defects around teeth with various depth). While a panoramic X-ray is a good examination method to see the general state of the jawbone system, it is usually insufficient to plan a more detailed treatment.
The third part in diagnosing and treatment planning is taking intraoral pictures. Studying these pictures later can often reveal problems that were not noticed right away. Treating periodontal diseases is usually a complex process that takes a long time and the initial state of the oral cavity may be forgotten. The pictures are very useful to provide comparison between the initial stage of treatment and interim stages. As patients suffering from periodontitis have often problems with aesthetics, teeth position change and missing teeth that require replacement, the pictures is a good means to give information to other dental specialists. This helps avoid sending the patient from one doctor to another.