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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

Dr. Herrera and her staff are the best. Appointments are always on time. She is thorough, professional and just a neat person. I visit her office about 4 times a year for cleanings and checkups. The reason I mention this is that she has had the same great hygenist, Terri, for the entire time I have been a patient. My prior dentist had different hygenist every time I visited. Good example of how well this office is run. Don't have any fears seeing this dentist. Gentle, understanding and never rushed!

Jim S.

Dr. Herrera has been my dentist since mine retired many years ago. Dr. Herrera and her staff are highly skilled, and professional. Their equipment is top notch and the environment is relaxing. The hygienist (Teri) is very thorough and is simply excellent. Awhile back, I came in with a broken tooth, I expected a 2 or 3 visit repair over a course of at least a week. Dr. Herrera figured out the best repair, took the measurements, matched the tooth color, milled a porcelain crown, fitted and bonded it perfectly. I had a porcelain crown in one visit! The crown has been trouble free for years, and it still looks perfect. I have a fantastic dentist and hygienist. It does not get any better.

Kevin M.

Love Dr Herrera and all of the staff! Always courteous, friendly and fun when I visit. They are all very gentle when working on your teeth, so if you have a phobia of the dentist, fear no more! Not only are they easy on your mouth, but they have television screens you can watch while receiving treatment and even massaging chairs! I will continue to refer friends, family and clients to them for great dental care.

Lauren H.

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