Periodontal disease can be diagnosed during a regular dental examination. Your dentist will perform a careful survey of the appearance of your gums, check each tooth for looseness, and use a probe to identify and measure any spaces, known as pockets, which may have formed between your gums and teeth. In periodontal disease, these pockets will measure more than 3 mm (millimeters) in depth. Your dentist may also do a dental x-ray . This type of x-ray can reveal whether or not the bones that support your teeth show signs of deterioration. Evidence of bone loss around teeth is one of the signs of more advanced periodontal disease.
Because early symptoms of gingivitis can be difficult to detect, you should have a regular dental checkup every six months.
Disease, gum (periodontal disease). American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/3063.aspx. Accessed July 27, 2011.
Gum disease: what you need to know. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: http://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease.htm. Accessed July 27, 2011.
Periodontal (gum) disease. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/GumDisease. Updated March 2011. Accessed July 27, 2011.
Last reviewed September 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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