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).