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Diagnosis

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination.  This type of exam should always be part of your regular dental check-up.

A periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums.  The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed.  The periodontal probe helps indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters.  As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper.

Your dentist or hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc., to make a diagnosis that will fall into a category below:

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease.  Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.

Periodontitis

Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar).  As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to recede from the teeth.  Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus.  The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily.Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.

Advanced Periodontitis

The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed.  Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost.  Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.

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Testimonials

"His shots don't hurt, and I love going to the dentist!"

Alissa Dzenko Oakwood Christian Academy, 3rd Grade Chickamauga, GA

My visit to Smiles of Chattanooga was unlike anything I could have imagined. I was sitting in the waiting room for no more than five minutes when someone came out to greet me by name and started introducing me to everyone behind the front desk. After I filled out my paperwork I was taken on a tour of the building so I'd feel comfortable. I again sat for only a few minutes when I was taken back and introduced to the hygienist. I ended up staying for about six hours getting work done. I was offered blankets and pillows in case I was child. For the short periods I was alone in a room they gave me an I pad to entertain myself and while being worked on I had headphones with music. I am usually nervous when I have to see any type of doctor but everyone here was so friendly and supportive that I actually look forward to my next visit. Smiles of Chattanooga have changed my perception of what I should expect when I'm a patient. I felt like I was hanging out with good friends and left feeling better about myself. Thank you to everyone there.

-Judith Ferguson

I can't say enough kind words about how wonderful of an experience Dr. Gallien and his team provides us. Worth every penny and mile to come see, the practice far exceeds our expectations with kind words, huge smiles, genuine courtesy and appreciation. We absolutely love visiting Dr. Gallien and will continue to do so for years to come.

-Jennifer Hodnett

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