Periodontal diagnosis


icon_dentist toolsWe talk a lot about prevention at Boulton Dental.

That’s because we don’t want you to suffer pain or need to undergo costly and invasive procedures.

Maybe you weren’t ever shown how to care for your teeth and gums properly. Maybe you didn’t know that dental decay and gum disease are chronic diseases that can be detected early, and managed.

We’ll give you step-by-step instructions and the tools you need to make sure you stay healthy.

You can read a bit more about periodontal disease – or gum disease – to the right (and see what you’ll be missing out on if we work together). Miss out on what? Periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease: diagnosis and treatment

Periodontal disease is the term given to a range of teeth and gum conditions from Gingivitis to more serious Advanced Periodontitis. It’s one of the more common diseases of Australian adults.

Periodontal disease can be serious and lead to significant bone loss around your teeth and, ultimately, loss of your teeth. The problem is it’s painless in the early stages. Unless you are diagnosed early and start taking steps to manage the disease, it can be hard and expensive to control.

Who is at risk of periodontal disease?

If you’re a smoker, a diabetic, have high blood pressure, your parents had gum disease or you have poor health in general, then you are more at risk. However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook if you don’t fit into the above categories. (We can use an online calculator to calculate your risk of having the disease.)

You should not ignore periodontal disease as it can lead to more serious problems that require extensive and costly solutions, and possibly referral to a specialist.

Although it’s unlikely that periodontal disease on its own will lead to heart attack or stroke, there is often an association between periodontal disease and other health issues so it’s worth getting checked.

How can I tell if I have periodontal disease?

Bleeding, inflamed or spongy gums can be early signs, but this isn’t always so and particularly not in smokers. If any of your teeth are a bit wobbly, then the disease is in an advanced stage.

However, the only way to diagnose periodontal disease is by doing a few tests at your examination. We do this for everyone at every visit – and we’ll even give you progressive scores if you’d like them.

How do you get periodontal disease?

Usually, periodontal disease starts because a person hasn’t managed to remove enough of the bacteria (we call it plaque or a biofilm) to stop their immune system overreacting. If your immune system flares up, inflammation sets in and the build-up hardens around your teeth.

This build-up of plaque, calculus and bacteria can become more aggressive and do more damage, attacking bone and gums unless it’s reversed.


Treatment depends on how severe your case of periodontal disease is. For the mildest form, you might just need to change the way you clean your teeth, have a thorough clean, or perhaps use a new toothpaste. For long-standing or more severe disease, our dental hygienist may need to perform an especially thorough type of cleaning (not just a scale and clean). This may be followed by an application of fluoride then a swish of antiseptic mouthwash and instructions on how to maintain healthy gums.

There are particular ways to brush, floss or “pickster” your teeth to reverse gum disease.

Your dental hygienist or oral therapist will show you how to care for your teeth and gums (including brushing and flossing), and schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure the disease hasn’t got worse.

If you have advanced periodontal disease, you may need a referral to a specialist, or surgery to halt its spread.

These latter options are rare for our long-term patients as we detect symptoms early while the disease is still easy to treat

For exceptional care, contact Boulton Dental Newcastle today.

If you’d like to book an appointment with Boulton Dental, then contact us, or call us in Newcastle on (02) 4961 6300.

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