During a periodontal examination, probing depths are recorded. These measurements measure the distance from the margin of the gum tissue to the base of the pocket surrounding the tooth.
Another measurement that is recorded is the distance of gum margin to the cemento-enamel junction (CEJ) or the point where the crown and root surface meet. If the gum margin is above the CEJ, a negative measurement is recorded. However, if the gum margin is below the CEJ, a positive number is recorded. Positive numbers indicate gingival recession.
The sum of the probing depth and the gingival margin leads to the clinical attachment loss.
CAL: 1-2 mm = mild attachment loss
CAL: 3-4 mm = moderate attachment loss
CAL: 5 mm or greater = severe attachment loss
Based off of these clinical measures and the presence of clinical signs of bacterial plaque, calculus, bleeding on probing, or presence of pus, active gingivitis or periodontal disease may be present. A normal cleaning would not be able to control this active disease process thus a scaling and root planing or “deep cleaning” is recommended.
The goal of this treatment is to clean bacterial plaque and deposits below the gum line to allow reattachment of gingival tissue to the once diseased surfaces and decrease the inflammation in the gum tissue. Doing a regular cleaning in a diseased state would be like cutting a weed in the lawn without removing the root. The weed would grow back within a few days if the root is still present. Similarly, a regular cleaning would not treat the periodontal condition on a diseased surface as it would only clean above the gums. For more information, please contact our office!