Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Diagnosis of periodontitis is generally simple. Diagnosis is based on your description of symptoms and an exam of your mouth. Your dentist will look for plaque and tartar buildup and check for easy bleeding.

To determine how severe your periodontitis is, your dentist may:

  • Use a dental instrument to measure the pocket depth of the groove between your gums and your teeth. Your dentist or a hygienist inserts a metal probe beside your tooth beneath your gumline, 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 5 mm may indicate periodontitis.
  • Take dental X-rays to check for bone loss in areas where your dentist observes deeper pocket depths.
Feb. 04, 2014

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