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Gingival Health: Periodontal Assessment (AGD 730)

Presenter: ADAA Council on Education and Professional Development


In today’s busy dental practice, the dental team’s role in data collection for diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease is extremely important. Periodontal disease affects all patient groups, regardless of age, race or socioeconomic status.

The dental profession has a legal responsibility to recognize and record findings and also to inform and educate the patient regarding this disease and the prognosis it presents. Periodontal disease, when recognized and treated early, can have predicable outcomes.

Early recognition of the clinical symptoms of periodontal disease greatly reduces tooth loss.

A thorough periodontal examination should never be compromised due to time constraints. Adequate time must be provided to collect all necessary clinical data during diagnosis and treatment appointments.

Assessment of periodontal disease in the initial stages can be difficult. The disease itself is insidious and in the beginning stages the patient feels no discomfort. Most patients are truly unaware that they have a problem. Bleeding may be the only symptom that the patient notices, and frequently the patient may consider that to be “normal”.

On the patient’s medical/dental history form one of the best indicators of periodontal disease is the question, ”Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss?”


Members of the 2001-2002 ADAA Council on Education originally developed this course. All members of the Council on Education are ADAA Active or Life Members with an interest in dental assisting education. Each one volunteers their time to the life long learning of dental assistants.

The 2005- 2006 ADAA Council on Education updated this course.

The 2010-2011 ADAA Council on Education updated this course.

The 2019-2020 ADAA Council on Education and Professional Development updated this course.



Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

• Recognize at least three data items that must be included in the initial data gathering appointment.
• Recite at least five questions that must be asked of the patient during the initial data gathering appointment.
• Demonstrate the ability to record in-depth information onto the patient record.
• List at least eight types of clinical evidence to be observed on the patient’s clinical radiographs.
• Discuss at least two “pitfalls” that might cause limitations on accurate readings when probing the sulcus.
• Explain the four classes of mobility.
• Define the four classes of furcation.


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry.  Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.

Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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