Diagnosis

To determine whether you have periodontitis and how severe it is, your dentist may:

  • Review your medical history to identify any factors that could be contributing to your symptoms, such as smoking or taking certain medications that cause dry mouth.
  • Examine your mouth to look for plaque and tartar buildup and check for easy bleeding.
  • Measure the pocket depth of the groove between your gums and teeth by placing a dental 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 4 mm may indicate periodontitis. Pockets deeper than 6 mm cannot be cleaned well.
  • Take dental X-rays to check for bone loss in areas where your dentist observes deeper pocket depths.
April 14, 2017
References
  1. Periodontitis (pyorrhea). Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental-disorders/periodontal-disorders/periodontitis. Accessed Nov. 10, 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. Wilder RS, et al. Gingivitis and periodontitis in adults: Classification and dental treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 11, 2016.
  5. Smiley CJ, et al. Evidence-based clinical practice guideline on the nonsurgical treatment of chronic periodontitis by means of scaling and root planning with or without adjuncts. Journal of the American Dental Association. 2015;146:525.
  6. Gum disease. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease. Accessed Nov. 11, 2016.
  7. Oral health. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-health. Accessed Nov. 11, 2016.
  8. Periodontal treatments and procedures. American Academy of Periodontology. https://www.perio.org/consumer/treatments-procedures. Accessed Nov. 11, 2016.
  9. Brushing your teeth. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  10. Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 4, 2016.