Gum (Periodontal) Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

12. How is gum disease diagnosed?

The dentist will ask about your medical history to identify any conditions or risk factors such as smoking that may contribute to gum disease.

The dentist or hygienist will also

  • examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation.
  • use a tiny ruler called a 'probe' to check for and measure any periodontal pockets. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters.
  • take an x-ray to see whether there is any bone loss.

The dentist or hygienist may also

  • take an x-ray to see whether there is any bone loss and to examine the condition of the teeth and supporting tissues.
  • refer you to a periodontist. Periodontists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease and may provide you with treatment options that are not offered by your dentist.