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X-Ray Vision, part three

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Here’s a dental term to impress your friends and family, “periodontal”. Dentists and dental hygienists take periodontal measurements, sometimes called readings, to determine whether the bone in the jaws is plentiful and properly shaped around each tooth to support chewing. Dental X-rays also assist this process because bone density shows up uniquely. Trained eyes can spot unusual shapes and densities, areas that should be routinely monitored or, perhaps, corrected sooner rather than later.

The distance between where the gum appears to attach to a tooth and where it actually attaches, physically, should be 2-3 mm. Dental professionals call this a “sulcus”. We use a periodontal probe to measure the sulcus around every tooth, usually annually. Any change is noted and watched carefully, along with a comparison to older X-rays when updated X-rays are taken. My hygienists and I take periodontal health very seriously because bone deterioration IS serious. It doesn’t grow back on its own. Usually, I shorten the gap between dental cleanings and make sure that patients know exactly how to clean all areas in question. Often, we call these areas “pockets” because changes in the bone and surrounding gum tissue usually create hidden spaces where debris is stored, sort of like a pocket. Patients learn how to remove debris from these spaces.

Once patients change their cleaning regimen, we evaluate whether they are stable. Again, x-rays reveal stability or loss of additional bone. If the latter, they are asked to have dental cleanings at closer intervals. Sometimes, we ask them to see a Periodontist, a dental specialist trained in correcting the pockets and stopping the progression of periodontal disease.

Contact Winterset Dental today to find out which treatment is right for you.