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.