What the Numbers Mean in a Periodontal Exam

Periodontal Exam NumbersSeeing a family dentist is a wonderful New Year’s resolution if you don’t already have a dentist. An initial visit usually starts with a periodontal exam to assess your teeth and gum health. This involves a dentist poking and prodding your gums while reading off some numbers to the dental assistant. Many patients later ask what those numbers in a periodontal exam mean. We’ll explain in full detail what those digits entail.

Numbers in a Periodontal Exam Explained

The numbers the dentist or hygienist reads aloud indicate the state of health of the bone and gums around each tooth. Each tooth has six areas the examiner measures and assigns a number. The numbers range from zero to seven, and sometimes higher.

Essentially, the numbers refer to the size of a gum pocket, or the gap between the gum tissue and the tooth. A higher number indicates a larger gap. Large gum pockets are bad because they leave the tooth surface vulnerable to tartar buildup.

The Numbers at a glance

0 to 3

Ideally, you want to hear numbers three or below. This means there are no significant gum pockets that require immediate attention.

4 to 5

This indicates a slightly larger gum pocket. This can be due to gum inflammation. It may also be due to early signs of periodontal disease or bone loss around a tooth. A deep cleaning may be required.

6 and above

Hopefully, you don’t ever hear any numbers six or above. This is a sign of advanced periodontal disease. Some form of oral surgery may be required to save your tooth.

Start 2017 with a Periodontal Exam

We can’t overstress the importance of a regular periodontal exam. Contact Mukilteo Dental Arts to schedule your first checkup. We have the best team of general dentists and endodontists. We’ll take care of you if a periodontal exam yields high numbers that require further treatment.

Edited by Justin Vorhees

Periodontal Exams for Adults and Children

General family dentistry for Mukilteo, Everett, Lynnwood, Edmonds & Mill Creek