What is Gum Charting?
Gum, or periodontal, charting is when your Indianapolis dentist measures the pockets around each tooth to help evaluate oral health. It’s an important step in diagnosing gum disease and determining how advanced it may be. Periodontal charting can also assist your dental team in recommending an appropriate treatment plan.
How is Periodontal Charting Done?
The process is pretty simple and usually pretty painless, too. The teams at our Indianapolis dental offices will gently poke the six areas around each tooth to measure the pockets between the gum and tooth. You’ll hear us call out and record numbers, anywhere from 1 to 7, or sometimes more. The numbers are the pocket depth in millimeters.
What Do the Measurements Mean?
You want to hear lower numbers during your periodontal charting. Measurements between 1 and 3 are a sign that your gums are in good health. But, it’s worth noting that even if your pockets are between these ideal depths, if you bleed, it may be a sign of early gum disease. Pockets deeper than 3 millimeters could indicate a stronger likelihood of gum disease, or an advanced stage of it. Anymore than 3 millimeters could mean more serious issues. Check out the ranges and associated concerns below.
- 3 mm – 5 mm: Gum pockets with measurements that fall within this range is usually a strong indicator of moderate gum disease.
- 5 mm – 7 mm: Depths between 5 and 7 is almost a guarantee of gum disease. There’s also a risk of bone loss.
- 7 mm+: Any gum pockets that are 7 millimeters or more is a strong sign of advanced gum disease. Periodontal surgery may be recommended.
Signs of Gum Disease
Periodontal charting is an extremely reliable way to diagnose gum disease, but there are things you can keep an eye out for in between visits.
- Chronic bad breath
- Bleeding gums (it’s never normal!)
- Red, swollen gums
- Loose teeth
Gum disease is a serious problem that can lead to tooth loss and, in turn, even more oral health issues. Not only that, gum disease can affect the whole body as well. Recent research shows a link between gum disease and heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It’s not something to be taken lightly, so if you become aware of any potential signs of gum disease, we welcome you to call one of our dental offices in Indianapolis to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to help.