Comprehensive Periodontal Exam (CPE)
You already know that visiting your dental professional regularly for a check-up and cleaning is an essential part of keeping your oral health at its best. However, these visits may not specifically look for signs of periodontal disease.
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) recommends that you receive a comprehensive periodontal evaluation, or CPE, annually to determine if you have or if you are at risk for periodontal disease. By assessing your periodontal health yearly, you and your dental professional will know how healthy your teeth and gums are, and will be better able to assess if you need additional treatment. Your CPE can be performed at your regular yearly check-up by a member of the dental team, including a general dentist, registered dental hygienist, or periodontist.
Your dental professional will assess these six areas during your CPE:
- Your Teeth: Your dental professional will examine your teeth and any restorations you might have, including dental fillings, dental implants, crowns, and dentures. During the examination of your teeth, he or she will note the position of the teeth and their closeness to one another.
- Your Plaque: The amount and location of any plaque and/or tartar will be assessed.
- Your Gums: An instrument called a dental probe will be inserted into the space between your tooth and gums to measure the depth of your gum pockets and to see how well your gums attach to your teeth. Any bleeding that occurs during the probing process, as well as any inflammation of your gums, will also be recorded.
- Your Bite: Your dental professional will then observe your bite, also known as occlusion. While you bite down, your dental professional will look to see how your teeth fit together and for any signs of tooth movement or loose teeth. This is important because moving or loose teeth can be a sign of periodontal disease.
- Your Bone Structure: Your dental professional will examine the bone in and around your mouth since it can be affected by periodontal disease. X-rays may be taken to help evaluate the quality of bone in your upper and lower jaw areas and to determine if any bone loss has occurred.
- Your Risk Factors: You will be asked about a variety of risk factors for periodontal disease, including age, tobacco use, if anyone else in your family has periodontal disease, or if you have another systemic condition that may be linked to periodontal disease, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
When your dental professional has finished your comprehensive periodontal evaluation, he or she will discuss the findings with you and explain if any treatment is needed. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have about the evaluation, findings, or anything else regarding your oral health.
In addition to brushing twice each day, flossing at least once each day, and seeing your dental professional for regular cleanings, receiving your annual CPE is an essential part of your oral health routine.
Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation
A Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation, or CPE, is a way to assess your periodontal health by examining:
- Your teeth
- Your plaque
- Your gums
- Your bite
- Your bone structure
- Your risk factors
When your dental professional, such as a periodontist, general dentist, or dental hygienist, performs this evaluation, they will look at these six areas to determine the state of your periodontal health.
WHY DO I NEED A COMPREHENSIVE PERIODONTAL EVALUATION?
- Recent research has indicated that the prevalence of periodontal disease in the U.S. may be significantly higher than originally estimated. This means that all adults should thoroughly assess the state of their periodontal health to receive accurate information about the health of their mouths.
- By assessing your oral health on an annual basis, you and your dental professional will know how healthy your mouth is, and will be better able to notice any conditions, such as periodontal disease, that may need additional treatment.
- Research has also shown, and experts agree, that there is an association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases. Therefore, it is very important to treat the inflammation that causes periodontal disease as soon as possible to ensure that your entire body stays healthy.
- Research has suggested that bacteria found in the mouth can be drawn into the respiratory tract and cause an inflammatory response in the lungs, commonly known as pneumonia. In addition, periodontal disease may also worsen existing chronic lung conditions. Anyone with lung or respiratory problems should consider a complete oral health examination to determine if gum disease is present.
- Since periodontal disease has been shown to have a connection with other chronic diseases, you should try to keep your teeth and gums healthy. First, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice each day and floss your teeth at least once each day. Additionally, you should receive a comprehensive periodontal exam each year from your general dentist or your periodontist. Doing so can help ensure that your periodontal health is at its best, which can help keep your entire body healthy.
YOUR COMPREHENSIVE PERIODONTAL EVALUATION CHECKLIST
- To help you learn more about the state of your oral health, the Academy has developed a Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation checklist. Download the checklist, print it out, and bring it to your next dental appointment. The steps of the evaluation are listed, and there is space for you to write questions or additional information you would like to share with your dental professional. Check off each step of the evaluation as your dental professional completes your exam, and be sure to ask your dental professional if you have any questions about the evaluation or about your oral health.