Understanding Perio Charting

Perio charting: What do all those numbers mean?

Recently a patient asked, “When I have a periodontal examination at during a cleaning, what do all those numbers mean? What do you do with them?” Good questions which we thought we’d answer here.
As our dental patient, you are regularly screened for oral cancer, bite problems and periodontal disease at routine dental visits. But once every few years we do a more comprehensive periodontal charting (CPC). If you’re a long time patient you’re probably familiar with the routine: the hygienist calls in another staff member and together they record all kinds of numbers for every tooth in your mouth. Maybe you’ve wondered yourself, what does it all mean?

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Periodontal disease, like many diseases, may not be obvious without testing. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels must be measured in order to be evaluated. Similarly the measurements we take during a CPC are one of the ways we test for signs of periodontal disease. A CPC serves several purposes in helping Dr. Doray monitor and assess your overall dental health.

An important part of your periodontal health is the depth of the pockets around each tooth. Since the top of the gum doesn’t attach directly to a tooth there is a space or a pocket between the gum and the tooth. Pocket depths of 1-3 millimeters are normal. Deeper pocketing especially with bleeding is a sign of disease and may indicate additional treatment is needed.

But in addition to pocket depths and bleeding we are measuring other factors including tooth mobility, gum recession and the level of attached gingiva. All of these indicators are entered into the computer and Dr. Doray carefully reviews the current and prior examination results to see if your periodontal health is improving, maintaining or getting worse.

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This information, in conjunction with a review of your most recent x-rays, gives Dr. Doray a more accurate assessment of your bone levels. Often with periodontal disease small changes happen over time. If identified early, periodontal disease is more easily managed and the prognosis for your teeth is much better.

Because Dr. Doray is so thorough in her care she is able to comprehensively evaluate your oral health and provide treatment recommendations tailored to your mouth in order for you to maintain or achieve a healthy and functional smile.

Contact our office at 215-772-3100 or request an appointment online by visiting our website.