Diagnosis

Dentists usually diagnose gingivitis based on:

  • Review of your dental and medical history and conditions that may contribute to your symptoms.
  • Examination of your teeth, gums, mouth and tongue for signs of plaque and inflammation.
  • Measuring the pocket depth of the groove between your gums and your teeth by inserting a dental probe beside your tooth beneath your gum line, usually at several sites throughout your mouth. In a healthy mouth, the pocket depth is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters (mm). Pockets deeper than 4 mm may indicate gum disease.
  • Dental X-rays to check for bone loss in areas where your dentist sees deeper pockets.
  • Other tests as needed. If it's not clear what has caused your gingivitis, your dentist may recommend that you get a medical evaluation to check for underlying health conditions. If your gum disease is advanced, your dentist may refer you to a specialist in gum diseases (periodontist).
Feb. 03, 2017
References
  1. Wilder RS, et al. Gingivitis and periodontitis in adults: Classification and dental treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 11, 2016.
  2. Periodontal (gum) disease: Causes, symptoms, and treatments. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm#. Accessed Nov. 10, 2016.
  3. Gum disease information. American Academy of Periodontology. https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease.htm. Accessed Nov. 10, 2016.
  4. Gum disease. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease. Accessed Nov. 11, 2016.
  5. Brushing your teeth. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  6. Gingival inflammation without loss of periodontal attachment (gingivitis). American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/dental-practice-parameters/gingival-inflammation-without-loss-of-periodontal-attachment. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  7. Gingivitis. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gingivitis. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  8. Gingivitis. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental-disorders/periodontal-disorders/gingivitis. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  9. Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 19, 2016.