Periodontal probing is a procedure that consists of the evaluation of periodontal tissues and in the detection of periodontal pockets if they exist. With the periodontal probing, the distance between the gingival margin and the base of the periodontal groove is measured, with these measurements the periodontist can diagnose the degree of involvement and destruction of the periodontal tissue, that is, of the gums and bone that support the teeth.

The presence of a periodontal pocket indicates that there is the presence of periodontal disease, which is the result of the interaction of pathogenic bacteria with the patient’s immune system. Bacteria colonize the tooth surface where they multiply and spread towards the apex of the tooth, as a consequence they cause a disinsertion of the epithelium and connective tissue and cause a destruction of the periodontal tissues adjacent to the periodontal pocket. The larger the periodontal pocket, the greater the bone loss, and the accumulation of subgingival calculus (tartar).

Through the periodontal probing the depth of the same is examined to find indicators of disease, among which is:

  • Bleeding when probing
  • Alterations of between 2-3 mm (periodontal pocket indicators)
  • Periodontal attachment loss

It can diagnose the degree of destruction of periodontal tissues in different ways:

  • By visual detection of clinical signs of tissue destruction
  • Performing a clinical attachment level measurement with a periodontal probe
  • With radiographs, the degree of destruction and bone loss can be assessed.

Periodontal probing is performed with periodontal probes, with them we can evaluate:

  • Probing depth or distance from the gingival margin to the base of the periodontal sac.
  • The clinical attachment loss or the distance from the cementum-enamel junction to the fundus of the periodontal sac.
  • Assess the hemorrhagic response to physical pressure.
  • Determine the presence of bacterial plaque or calculus.

Periodontal probing is performed when it is suspected that the patient may suffer from some type of periodontal disease, thus the periodontist can confirm and diagnose the disease.

It has been recognized by many periodontists that the key to successful treatment of periodontal disease is based on a careful assessment and diagnosis of various characteristics of periodontal disease, including periodontal probing. What’s more, with the periodontal probing we will be able to record the measurements of the quantity and distribution of the bacterial plaque, the presence or not of inflammation, the depth of the periodontal pockets, if there is tooth mobility and certain situations such as if there is root proximity, if there is gingival recession, furcation involvement, among others. Once all the data is recorded, the first results can be compared with future reviews and see if the treatment is effective.

Conclusion

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